lasagna with pistacchio pesto e taleggio

Once in a while bob gets a food idea in his head and is driven to pursue and execute the result of the search for how to deliver the initially vague idea. A random Facebook post hits bob with a video of food porn quality showing a pistacchio pesto cheese and pancetta lasagna. In Italian. Half my time line is in foreign languages: Italian, Armenian, Hindi, sometimes Russian ... Fortunately right clicking in Google Chrome will translate these posts on a laptop---NOT on a smart phone! What kind of smart is that?

Nosing around the internet with Italian keywords (lasagna, pistacchio with two "c"'s, taleggio) brought up variations, usually with either prosciutto or even mortadella, but Ani vetoed both even though she is a mortadella lover. bob was thinking vegetarian, so what to do to replace the animal parts? Finally he finds a hit without any animals mentioned in the recipe title: just pistacchio and taleggio, a rich creamy cheese that melts well, so the search ended there. In the fine print there was easily ignored prosciutto (half a pound cubed).

This is not baking nor rocket science so there is no need to be careful with the ingredient quantities or the instructions here. Yes, there is baking going on but just to cook the lasagna noodles and melt the cheese into the bechamel sauce. We nixed the prosciutto in this recipe and bob insisted on not melting the taleggio into the bechamel sauce.  Next time we will have to give that a try since taleggio is impossible to slice up into little pieces to spread around layers of lasagna. It got some freezer time to stiffen up but not enough. It was really a drag trying to convince the cheese to cooperate.

We did not consult the recipe when grabbing the raw pistachios from Trader Joes, but we had about half a 30g package in the fridge for a total of about 45 g. We divided it up between the pesto and crumbs for layering, although which was more is not clear from bob's vague memory.


25 g raw pistachios  (they suggested 60 g pistacchi di Bronte, we used Trader Joe's)
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano
2 oz fresh basil leaves, an entire bunch (they suggested 5 marjoram leaves)
1 garlic clove (they only suggested 1/2 but we love garlic)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
bechemal sauce
6 c milk
6 T butter
6 T flour
nutmeg to taste
a bit of salt
4 medium leeks, clearned and sliced crossways finely
1 c plus whatever it takes of freshly grated parmigiano
20? g raw pistachios food processed to crumbs (we used Trader Joe's).
1 lb whole wheat pasta, lasagna output at notch 6 roller thickness


  1. Make sure you have an adequate lasagna baking pan. We just acquired a 9x13x2.75 in ceramic classic lasagna pan. Vertical sides so one noodle length works for all the layers. We use a long sort of crooked wooden spoon for the length cuts. Was just right for our 8 super thin sparingly sauced layers.
  2. Food process enough chunks of parmigiano to feed the recipe with up to 2 c of product, though 1.5 c is the estiimate.
  3. Throw all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and process. Fiddle with the olive oil quantity to make it moist enough  so youo don't have to press it on a plate to separate it into smaller bits to stir into the bechamel layers. Set aside.
  4. Saute the leeks in a few tablespoons of live oil until thoroughly softened. Set aside.
  5. This is best with homemade whole wheat pasta produced according to our recipe, but you might be able to buy a pound of fresh lasagna noodles, and pass them through a pasta roller machine to decrease the thickness to number 6. Do whatever it takes to obtain these noodles.
  6. Make the standard bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy nonstick pot. Work in the flour. Pour in the milk and add the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer and thicken the sauce a bit. We will just assume you can handle this step.
  7. When ready to assemble, boil the nndoles two at at time for a minute or so and then cool in ice water and lay out to dry on dish towels. Cut for layering.
  8. Start with spreading bechemal and a few tablespoons of pesto evenly around the bottom. Then the first pair of (wide) noodles, trmmed at the corners to match the rounded pan corners.
  9. Then repeat the behemal and pesto spread. Sprinkle sparingly some leeks, then some parmigiano. Trying to judge it lasting about 8 repetitions, though no leeks on the surface. Who am I kidding? You are never going to make this lasagna. Too bad because it is really worth it.
  10. Bake at 360 degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then broil it to finish the suface without burning it.
  11. Let rest 15 minutes.
  12. Serve and enjoy, at least in your imagination.


  1. Pistachio is English. Pistacchio is Italian.
  2. The initial food porn video:  lasagna al pistacchio con pancetta e provola.
  3. The recipe inspiring our variation is instead from Il Cucchiaio d'Argento (Silver Spoon): Lasagne ai pistacchi e taleggio. It uses (unsweetened) pistachios from Bronte, the king of Sicilian pistacchios for the pesto but you might find pistachio pesto in an Italian food products store or just follow our example and make the pesto yourself.
  4. Sicily is the home of Italy's most prized "pistacchio di Bronte" [Google, GoogleIT]
  5. Illustrations available.
lasagna-pisacchio-taleggio.htm: 9-oct-2020 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]