Food and Garden Dailies started as a way to record my family's favorite recipes. It has come in handy many times when I'm asked for a recipe. I simply email a link to the blog! But I couldn't just stick to recipes. The kitchen is tied to the garden in so many ways...and so I let you into my ever changing garden as well.

If you're interested in my all-time favorite recipes, check out this post first: My Favorite Recipes

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lasagna with Pesto

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How did we ever live without pesto?  And why did it take us 25 years to learn about it?  We were introduced to it at a Bloomington, Indiana restaurant we used to frequent.  Just simple pesto and pasta, but oh, so good!  That was back in the early 90s.   Turning to my can't-live-without cookbook, San Francisco Encore, I've been making pesto ever since.  
And, along with that recipe for pesto was another recipe which has been a favorite of ours for nearly 20 years:  Lasagna with Pesto.  This recipe calls for lasagna roll-ups, which is a fun way to present lasagna.  You could just as easily place the lasagna noodles flat in the pan.  But I love the ruffled edges of this dish, so I've always rolled them!

Lasagna with Pesto (San Francisco Encore)

1 lb ricotta cheese
1 ½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
½ C minced fresh parsley
½ C minced green onion
½ tsp minced garlic
1 egg yolk
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp marjoram
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

1 pound lasagna, cooked, rinsed in cold water and drained.
Pesto Sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a shallow baking dish. Combine all the ingredients except noodles and Pesto Sauce. Blend well. Taste and correct seasonings. Spread some of the filling over each lasagne noodle. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Stand vertically in the baking dish in a single layer. Spoon Pesto Sauce over the top of each roll. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through. Serve immediately.

To freeze:  I have two ways to freeze this.  One way is to make the filling and simply freeze it before you  assemble the lasagna.  This is simple, but requires more work later.  

The second way to freeze it, is to partially cook the noodles so they're still pliable enough to roll, but not quite al dente.  Line the pan with foil, assemble the lasagna, and then flash freeze the whole pan.  Once frozen, remove from dish (still in foil) and place in a freezer bag.  Remove air or vacuum pack.  To reheat, defrost, remove from bag, place back in same pan, and cook as directed.

Pesto Sauce

2 C fresh basil leaves (or 3 T dried)
½ C olive oil
2 TB pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt

½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TB butter, softened

In a food processor or blender, combine the first 5 ingredients. Transfer to a bowl. Beat in the cheese by hand, incorporating evenly. Beat in the butter.

To freeze the pesto, they recommend doing freezing it without the butter and Parmesan, and adding those in just before using it. However, I will admit that I have frozen this pesto without these ingredients, and with the butter and Parmesan. I haven't noticed much difference, so I just freeze the whole recipe! 

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