High-Class Comfort Food

22 January, 2013 | | 2 Comments

My latest cookbook review for PublishersWeekly.com was for a pesto-cheddar lasagna and it’s everything winter comfort food should be. The recipe comes from  Food & Wine: America’s Greatest New Cooks and hits all the right notes. It’s perfect for a fancy dinner for guests, a Superbowl party, or to eat alone, hunched over the stove, picking the crunchy caramelized bits off the sides of the pan. That’s what I call versatile.

While it takes a little effort and a few more pans than what I call easy, it is well worth it.

You can find the recipe and review here. And please check back tomorrow and the day after for my reviews of the brownie-chocolate chip cookies (bless us all!) and the chicken thigh ragu which was also a star recipe.

Unfortunately, there is an error on the PW.com homepage and they haven’t printed the entire recipe. So until they fix it, I offer you the recipe in full here (courtesy of Food & Wine: America’s Greatest New Cooks). You shouldn’t have to wait to make this.

Pesto & Cheddar Lasagna


  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups whole milk, warmed
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½ pounds dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 4 minutes; let cool. In a food processor, pulse the basil with the pine nuts and garlic until finely chopped. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil and process until a paste forms. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the 1½ sticks of butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour to make a paste and cook until bubbling, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, whisking, until the sauce is thick and no floury taste remains, about 7 minutes. Stir in the pesto and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Cover and remove from the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 400° and butter a 9-x-13-inch ceramic baking dish. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the noodles and transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Spread 1/3 cup of the pesto sauce in the prepared baking dish. Arrange a single layer of the noodles over the sauce. Top with one-fourth of the remaining sauce and one-third of the cheddar. Repeat this layering twice, then top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the Parmigiano on top.

5. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until the top is golden in spots. Cover loosely and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Make ahead: The unbaked lasagna can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.



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  1. GO says:

    Second half of recipe seems to be missing. Please post the full recipe. Thanks.

  2. Marissa says:

    Hello there!
    Thank you so much for the heads-up! I have contacted PW to get them to fix the page, but in the meantime, I have printed the entire recipe on my blog so you won’t have to wait. I am so sorry for the hassle. I very much appreciate your note. Let me know how you like the recipe.

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