Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lasagne al pesto, love and throats

My heart has been bursting these past couple of days. With love for my children.

Of course I always love my children.

But my love for them is like my throat. Yes, that is exactly what I meant to write, I am not hallucinating. You know  how certain parts of your body are just there, a given, even if you don't feel them, like your throat or your spleen? And then sometimes you are aware you have a throat, because it is sore or scratchy. That is like my love for my kids today, not that I want to compare them to an ache or a pain. It is just that they are normally fully integrated into my body, my soul, my life, my heart. But yesterday I woke up actually feeling my heart in my chest and it has been throbbing ever since with a feeling of constant, overpowering love for them.

Am I making any sense? At all?

I think it all started on Monday night, when I went into the childrens' room to tuck them in and dim their night light. As I walked over to my son's crib, I noticed something pink clutched in his dimply little hand. At a closer glance I noticed it was Piggy, my daughter's favorite stuffed animal, the pig she has been sleeping with since she was a wee babe. I don't know if he had been sniffling or complaining or if they were playing together in the semi darkness once their door was shut. All I know is that at some point after the lights went out, my little girl got out of her bed and gave her little brother her most prized posession to sleep with. And he took it and fell into a serene, thoughtless slumber.

That is when I know we did right.

That is all.

I just needed to share. I feel like when I write about my offspring it is more to vent about illness, baby sitter disasters, craziness and lack of time or sleep then to talk about what it really all boils down to. And now that I have started using cooking analogies, I know it is time to give you my recipe.

This is just another way to enjoy the gloriousness of pesto. Sure, you could just smear some on a piece of toast or put some on a toothbrush and brush your teeth with it, but if you want to be a little more refined or make dinner for a large group or a meal that you can freeze in portions for a rushed day in the future, this is the recipe for you. You can use freshly made pesto, or that jar you have in the freezer or you can even buy ready made pesto. I will not judge you. However, I do suggest you make your own bechamel, because it is so fast and really does make a world of difference. I know the measurements are not precise, but they really are up to you and your personal taste.

lasagne (homemade, dry, fresh)
bechamel sauce (using 1l of milk)
1 cup or more of pesto sauce
pine nuts ( about a handful)
green beans (approximately 2 cups)

A note on the bechamel: since you are not using meat sauce, you may want to make your bechamel more creamy by using a little less flour. This will help the lasagna cook better and more evenly and will make for a more comforting dish. I made a thicker version this time, because of the crunchy factor (this is for you Mommy!). Once you have made your bechamel and pesto sauces and blanched your green beans, preheat your oven to 180° C and start layering the ingredients. Start with a little bechamel on the bottom of the dish for extra moisture. Layer the lasagna (I bought fresh lasagne, which I suggest if they sell the pre-packaged kind where you live. If they don't, just remember the moistness factor when using lasagne from a box because pesto lasagne tend to dry out more than the traditional ragu version). Cover in bechamel sauce and pesto (I mix them once they are in the tray), sprinkle over the green beans (not too many since you will be using them in every layer), a few pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a little pepper. Do this for as many layers as you like. I made six to use up the whole package. The last layer should never be too rich, just enough to show off what goodness is hidden beneath.
Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or enough for the pasta to be cooked through and the top to be browned.


  1. Yes, you make perfect sense. I know that's a love so strong it simply hurts and there's no other good way to describe it.

    This pesto lasagne is lovely, I'm loving all you are making now a days!

  2. I was touched by your post and it is a feeling that I share having been blessed with two wonderful (now grown, thank god! ) children! Spurts of intense love pop out unexpectedly to make one realize that it has been there all along; by the way this lasagne is a delight, love the idea of using green beans! how clever and how scrumptious!

  3. A special moment of intense love which all parents will understand.

  4. You make perfect sense. There will be many more like moments as they grow. Each will be age specific but touching in its own way. Your lasagna sounds wonderful, too, but it pales by comparison to your love for your children. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. DD&W, ToB, Lindy and Mary - Thanks for sharing not only your wonderful recipes but also your personal experience as mothers with me. I wonder why, despite always loving our children, we have these moments of absolute, total love that makes our hearts ache? Whatever it means, it is one of the wonders and amazing gifts of motherhood.

  6. Let me of the great gifts of was not my intention to be sexist! Sorry

  7. Your story about children is extremely moving. I don't have kids of my own but I do sometimes get that joyful pain in the throat feeling that you describe so eloquently.

    Your bechamel lasagna looks marvelous. I've never made lasagna with fresh pasta. I'm going to look for that here in SF. Thanks!

  8. This lasagna looks scrumptious - i love the sunny photos you captured of it.
    I think this is why I want a second child. My husband keeps asking if I'm sure (I am) I want to go through it all again- it's the best dish I've ever made... :)

  9. Look at that creamy layer!! I think bechamel sauce is just one of those basic things every home cook should no by the back of the hand...

    I'm not a mother and I don't think I ever will be, but this post is touching...most people, some time in their life, feels a mother's love, and it's something totally mysterious and divine.

  10. Aww that is the sweetest story! Just gorgeous little exchanges. And I was talking to some people tonight and one of my best friends said that children are just perfect the way that they are. Totally in your case! :D

  11. Stevie - hope you can find the fresh lasagne in SF. Perhaps you can pick it up at a fresh pasta store?
    Nicole - I agree, it is the best thing I have ever created. Especially when you realize you have actually made two human beings that love each other...amazing.
    Sophia - thank you for giving me a daughter's point of view. You have so much love to give, that whoever will benefit from it will be lucky, whether child, friend, companion or family.
    Lorraine - Kids are born perfect, it is not us that makes them that way. It is our job not to ruin, or let the world ruin their innate perfection.

  12. Thank goodness for that loving feeling is all I have to say, it's what I think saves their lives when in the middle of a tantrum at the supermarket!
    I must now add that you've put me in a really tough spot, because I was planning on making a veggie lasagna for y'alls visit on saturday and now I'm afraid to. Thanks! baci!

  13. Your children sound so sweet! And I'm sure they learned from the best parents! =) This lasagna sounds absolutely delicious and I love the use of the pesto!

  14. Moomser - Are you kidding me? After those cakes you baked??? I will really enjoy your veggie lasagna, trust me!
    Peggy - thanks. Hope you have a nice weekend

  15. Aw what a great post! Good story, and mouthwatering lasagne!


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