Pesto and Pea Lasagna Recipe
This vegetarian lasagna requires making a couple of components, but it comes together quickly because those components don’t need to be cooked. Just blend basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor for the pesto. Use the same food processor—you don’t even need to wash it—to make the pea, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese filling, and layer that along with the pesto between no-boil noodles. Top it with mozzarella cheese and bake it for a new twist on vegetarian lasagna that’s as satisfying as a meat-and-tomato-sauce version.
What to buy: Be sure to buy whole-milk ricotta, or you can make your own.
This recipe was featured as part of our lasagna recipe slideshow.
For the pesto:
- 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the pea and cheese filling:
- 3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 pound frozen peas, thawed
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 (8- to 9-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- Olive oil, for coating the foil
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. With the food processor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until evenly incorporated. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse to finish incorporating all of the ingredients. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and set aside. Reserve the food processor and blade (no need to wash them).
For the pea and cheese filling:
- Place all of the measured ingredients except the cream in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the blade attachment. With the food processor running, add the cream in a slow, steady stream until the mixture is almost smooth but some texture remains, about 45 seconds. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Leave the filling in the food processor.
- Pour the cream evenly over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 4 lasagna noodles, allowing them to overlap slightly. Using a spoon, evenly spread a third of the pea-ricotta filling over the noodles, then evenly spread half of the pesto over the filling. Evenly sprinkle half of the pine nuts over the pesto.
- Cover with another layer of 4 noodles. Evenly spread another third of the pea-ricotta filling over the noodles. (Do not cover with pesto.)
- Cover with the last 4 noodles. Evenly spread the remaining third of the pea-ricotta filling over the noodles, then evenly spread the remaining half of the pesto over the filling. Evenly sprinkle the remaining half of the pine nuts over the pesto. Evenly arrange the mozzarella slices over the top. Coat 1 side of a large piece of aluminum foil with olive oil and cover the dish tightly with the foil, oil-side down.
- Bake until the sauce is starting to bubble around the edges, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top and edges of the lasagna are lightly browned in spots and the filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.