Genoa-style pesto lasagna

This lasagna made with pesto sauce is full of flavor and aroma.

  • Time

    1 hour

  • Difficulty


  • Course

    First Courses

  • Italian Region



Servings 4

For pasta

  • 10 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Ligurian extra virgin olive oil

For pesto

  • 1 oz basil
  • ½ oz pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup Ligurian extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 ½ oz matured pecorino, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

For dressing


55 minutes preparation + 5 minutes cooking

To prepare pesto alla genovese, wash and carefully dry the basil. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the basil with peeled garlic, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Slowly add the olive oil and continue mixing until you have a smooth sauce.

You can also make pesto using an immersion blender, but do not keep the blender running for a long time because it will heat up the basil and alter its flavor. Best to pulse the ingredients until smooth.

Then, put the pesto in a bowl and mix in the grated Parmesan and pecorino cheese.

To prepare the pasta, pour to flour out onto a flat work surface and shape into a well. Add the eggs and olive oil to the center and begin mixing. If the dough is too dry, add a splash of cold water. Shape the douth into a ball and let rest for 20 minutes, covered with a towel or plastic wrap.

With a rolling pin or with the aid of a pasta machine, roll out the dough into very thin sheets. Using the tip of a knife, cut the sheets of pasta into 1 inch x 2 inch rectangles.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 or 5 minutes. Then drain and toss with the pesto in a bowl off the beat. Add a couple tbsp of cooking water to dilute the sauce.

Garnish the lasagna with the remaining Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil from Liguria. Serve immediately.

Come to Liguria to Enjoy Fresh Pesto

Food Tour - Flavors of the Italian Riviera Why not savour fresh pesto, a speciality of Ligurian cuisine, in a romantic restaurant facing beautiful Italian bays? In Liguria, the scents and flavors of extra-virgin olive oil are unforgettable and intoxicating.
Academia Barilla will take you on a journey to discovery the secrets of Liguria: learn more about this tour.

Food History

Pesto alla Genovese is probably, along with the tomato sauce, one of the best known and loved pasta sauces in the world. Although the first written records of Genoa-style pesto recipe are fairly recent, dating back to 1860, this aromatic and flavorful sauce has its roots in much earlier times. A basil-based sauce was first prepared in Genoa in the middle of the Middle Ages.

It would seem, in fact, that the basil was introduced to Liguria in the eleventh century by captain Bartolomeo Decotto, who participated in the First Crusade under the command of captain Guglielmo Embriaco. Having discovered the medicinal benefits of basil in the Holy Lands, Bartolomeo decided to bring back a couple bags of basil seeds to Genoa.
Back in Liguria, he cultivated the basil and quickly realized that the leaves of the plant could be ground with local olive oil to make a tasty sauce. According to this theory, the first ancestor of modern-day pesto alla Genovese, now popular all over the world, was born back in the twelfth century.

Did you know that...

Since 2007, the world championship for pesto made using a mortar in pestle preparation takes place in Genoa each year?

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