Lasagna Verde

Combine pasta sheets, melty cheese, and creamy bechamel with a unique pistachio-and-herb pesto, and you've got this wonderful update of a classic Italian dish. Chef Scott Tacinelli's lasagna is good year-round, but it's especially fun to make with fresh greens in the summer.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

Lasagna

kosher salt

1 pound fresh lasagna (about 7?9 sheets), may substitute dried; see note in Step 2

Unsalted butter, for greasing dish

2 1/4 cups Pistachio Pesto, recipe follows

2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional to garnish

4 cups Besciamella, recipe follows

2 3/4 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella

Freshly ground black pepper, to finish

Pistachio Pesto

1 cup unsalted raw pistachios

2 cups tightly packed basil

2 cups tightly packed flat-leaf parsley 

2 cups tightly packed arugula

1 cup roughly chopped chives

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons

1 pinch dried red pepper flakes

1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 

3/4 cup vegetable oil, or any neutral oil 

kosher salt

Besciamella

8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into cubes (2 sticks)

1 shallot

1 bay lead

2 sprigs thyme

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 quart whole milk

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

kosher salt

Directions

  1. Assemble lasagna: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a greased 12 x 7 (2-quart) casserole dish, lay down a lasagna sheet, cutting to fit if necessary; spread 1 cup of Besciamella on top. Add another layer of pasta, then evenly spread 3/4 cup Pistachio Pesto on top, followed by 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmigiano. Repeat layering 2 more times for a total of 6 pasta layers. Finish with a final layer of pasta, 1 cup Besciamella, 1/2 cup Parmigiano, and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake, 25 minutes. Remove foil, then back another 10 minutes until top if golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before plating. Garnish each serving with freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

Pistachio Pesto

  1. In a food processor, add pistachios; pulse a few times to roughly chop. Use a chef's knife to roughly chop arugula, chives, basil, and parsley (a few stems are okay); add to the food processor. (It will seem like a lot of herbs, but just pack them down.) Add Parmigiano, along with a pinch of chile flakes and salt. Process on high speed, adding lemon juice and oil in a steady stream. (Turn off the motor to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary while processing.) Season to taste with salt. Makes 2 1/2-3 cups. (Store in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days).

Besciamella

  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, begin to melt butter. Meanwhile, roughly slice shallot and add to the butter, along with bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. Once butter is bubbly, sprinkle in flour and stir constantly until the raw flour is cooked and smells nutty, 4–5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; then slowly add milk while stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken, 2–3 minutes. Besciamella is done when it coats the back of a spoon. Add nutmeg and season generously with salt to taste. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Remove Besciamella from heat and strain into the bowl; it should be the consistency of thick batter. (Stir in a few tablespoons water if it's too thick.) Cover the surface of the sauce with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming until assembly time. Makes 5½–6 cups. (Make ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before using.)
  2. Lasagna sheets: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice water and set aside. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Parcook the lasagna sheets one at a time, in boiling water, for 60 seconds, then transfer to the ice bath for 15 seconds. Place parcooked sheet on the sheet pan and pat dry with a paper towel. Cover with a layer of parchment paper and repeat, creating a stack of sheets, each patted dry and separated by a layer of parchment.(Note: If using dried lasagna, cook according to manufacturer's instructions.)
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