Lasagne alla Genovese

When you think of lasagne, you probably think of the famous Lasagne alla Bolognese with bolognese ragù and bechamel sauce. There are however more types of lasagne, such as Lasagna alla Napoletana with ragù alla napoletana, meatballs, sausage, and ricotta, or this Lasagne alla Genovese with pesto. I had never made it before but I will definitely make it again as it was delicious and surprisingly light. Lasagne alla Genovese is made with a mixture of pesto alla genovese and bechamel sauce, to which vegetables can be added. In this case I added roasted zucchini, an idea I got from the Italian blog Il Marito Perfetto (the perfect husband).

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As with all lasagne it is best when made from scratch and as all lasagne that is quite a bit of work. But you can do it in advance and it is worth it. For this lasagne alla genovese I used the pesto from the man versus machine experiment.  With homemade pesto and fresh homemade pasta this is outstanding. Lasagne can be a bit heavy, but compared to other types of lasagne this one is light.

Ingredients

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For a 28 x 18 cm (11 x 7 inch) lasagne dish, 4 servings as a primo piatto or 2 servings as a full meal

One recipe home-made pesto

lots of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

For the pasta

2 eggs

about 200 grams (1 1/4 cups) Italian 00 flour

For the bechamel sauce

500 ml (2 cups) milk

30 grams (3 Tbsp) flour

30 grams (2 Tbsp) butter

freshly grated nutmeg

For the zucchini

3 zucchini

olive oil

salt

Preparation

Make fresh pasta dough from the eggs and the flour according to my instructions and roll it out into thin sheets. Parcook the sheets as described in my previous lasagne recipes. You should now have enough sheets to make 4 layers of dough in the 28 x 18 cm (11 x 7 inch) lasagne dish.

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Preheat the oven to 225C/450F. For the zucchini, wash and dry them and cut off the ends. Cut each zucchini in half. Set each half upright on your cutting board and find out which way to slice it. Above the right direction is shown as you can cut straight to slice it.

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This is the wrong direction to slice it, as you’d have to make curved slices.

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Once you’ve found the proper direction, cut off the peel on both sides.

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Then cut into four slices as shown. You will now have four slices with some peel on each side.

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Arrange on a grill (so you won’t have to turn them halfway), and roast for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini slices have dried a bit.

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Take them out of the oven and brush on all sides with olive oil.

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Return to the oven and roast until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes longer.

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Season lightly with salt.

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To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Meanwhile, heat up the milk in the microwave oven or in a separate saucepan. The milk should not boil, it should only be hot.

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Add the flour when the butter foams.

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Cook the flour and butter mixture (this is called a roux) for a few minutes over low heat, stirring.

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Now add all the hot milk at once. (There is no need to add it slowly when you add warm milk.)

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Whisk energetically to eliminate lumps.

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Cook for a few minutes over medium heat until it is nice and thick.

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Pour the bechamel sauce into a large bowl.

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Add some freshly grated nutmeg and season with a bit of salt. Stir to incorporate.

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Add most of the pesto to the bechamel sauce, reserving about two tablespoons.

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Stir to mix until homogeneous.

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Tast and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

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Your lasagne alla genovese is now ready to be assembled. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Butter a 28 x 18 cm (11 x 7 inch) lasagne dish. Put a layer of pesto-bechamel on the bottom.

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Cover with a layer of pasta sheets.

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Cover with half the zucchini slices, spread out evenly, and sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano.

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Cover with layers of pasta sheets, bechamel-pesto, and parmigiano.

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Add a third layer of pasta sheets and the remaining zucchini.

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Cover with bechamel-pesto, parmigiano, fourth layer of pasta sheets, and the remaining bechamel-pesto.

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Spread out the reserved pesto on top.

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Cover with a thick layer of parmigiano. I also dotted with butter, but it turned out that wasn’t really necessary to get a good crust.

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Bake on the oven at 200C/400F until the top is nicely browned, about 30 minutes.

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Allow the lasagne to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wine pairing

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The classic wine to have with this is a white from Liguria, Pigato di Ponente. Wines from Liguria are however hard to find outside of Liguria due to the small production. I had a hunch that this white Côtes du Roussillon from the south of France from 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne would work well, and it did. In fact it was an outstanding pairing, one of those occasions when both the dish and the wine taste better together than they taste separately. Pesto can sometimes clash with the acidity of white wines, but this worked wonderfully. A chardonnay from Langhe would also be great.

52 thoughts on “Lasagne alla Genovese

      • Will do! Lasagne is one of my favourite dishes, but I’ve never tried it any other way than Bolognese – you make it look really simple too

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        • This is easier than bolognese as making pesto sauce is easier than making bolognese sauce. You could ‘cheat’ by buying pesto and dried lasagne sheets, and that will still be good but not nearly as good as making the whole thing from scratch. Thanks for following!

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    • It would certainly not be something that would be done in Liguria, but chicken does go well with pesto. You could slice chicken breast thinly and pound it even thinner, and then brown it quickly in very hot olive oil or clarified butter.
      The Italian way would be to have the lasagne first and then have the chicken afterwards as a second course.

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  4. Late to the party but I couldn’t read your post without commenting. This is a killer plate of lasagna, Stefan. I’m not at all familiar with using zucchini here but I bet it would add an interesting flavor and texture, especially after roasting. And the platter our of the oven looks spectacular! This is one great dish!

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  6. OK, now you have Baby Lady’s attention. This is fabulous Stefan! I like this one a lot. I also think I finally have caught up on your posts. Have you ever tried it without the pasta, perhaps with alternating layers of eggplant and zucchini?

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  9. I adore the challenge of making a completely from scratch lasagna. I will make this recipe for sure. I hope it turns out as beautiful, decadent and flavorful as yours. The combination of a white bechamel with pesto is divine – and I love the bit of nutmeg for an authentic Italian touch. Sweet, roasted zucchini and salty, scrumptious parmigiano doesn’t hurt anything one bit, either! ;-) Amazing, Stefen! I am so hungry now! :-)

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