Summer Seafood and Pesto Lasagna

Summer Seafood and Pesto Lasagna Recipe

For a luscious summer seafood lasagna like this, in which the pesto plays an important role and can stand up in the lasagna, it’s best if you make your own. However, good, chilled store-bought pesto (not from a glass jar, but the kind sold in plastic containers in the perishables section of the market) can be doctored with the addition of a little freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano, a clove of fresh-pressed garlic, and a little extra salt and pepper.–Jennifer Oz LeRoy and Kay LeRoy

Summer Seafood and Pesto Lasagna Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 25 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


  • For the ricotta mixture
  • One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • 1/2 cup grated whole-milk, low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the basil pesto
  • 2 ounces (2 1/2 cups, loosely packed) basil leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (see Note)
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other grana padana cheese
  • For the seafood lasagna
  • 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups Ricotta Mixture
  • 3/4 cup Basil Pesto or best-quality store-bought pesto
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried lasagna noodles, preferably imported
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus additional, softened, for greasing
  • 3/4 pound cooked sole or other white fish, flaked into large chunks
  • 3/4 pound small cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other grana padana cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • Make the ricotta mixture
  • 1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well, until evenly blended. The mixture may be made 1 day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
  • Make the basil pesto
  • 2. In a mixing bowl, combine ice and water; place the bowl near the stove. In a small saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, blanch the basil leaves for 10 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice bath for 1 minute; lift out and squeeze the leaves dry with your hands, getting rid of as much excess moisture as possible.
  • 3. In a mini-prep or standard food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds. Add the Parmigiano and blend for 5 seconds more. Taste for seasoning.
  • Make the seafood lasagna
  • 4. Put a very large pot of water on to boil, for the lasagna noodles.
  • 5. Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the grated zucchini and saute for about 3 minutes, until softened but still bright green. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl, so the zucchini stops cooking immediately and retains its color.
  • 6. Add the ricotta mixture and the pesto to the bowl with the zucchini. Fold together until evenly blended.
  • 7. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt to the pot of boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Cook according to the package directions, and drain carefully, placing the noodles on a clean kitchen towel.
  • 8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 9. Use the softened butter to thoroughly grease a 9 x 14-inch or similar-size earthenware, ceramic, or glass baking dish. Spread a little of the ricotta-pesto mixture over the base of the pan, then top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Make another layer of ricotta-pesto, then top with all the seafood (the cooked fish and shrimp), spreading them evenly.
  • 10. Make another layer of lasagna noodles and keep layering until you’ve used all the noodles and ricotta-pesto, spreading only about 1/2 inch of the ricotta-pesto mixture atop each noodle layer. Make a last layer of noodles and top with the Parmigiano and parsley.
  • 11. Dot the top with the 2 tablespoons butter, cover snugly with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for about 10 minutes more until the sauce is bubbling and the top of the lasagna is brown.
  • 12. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.


  • To toast pine nuts, place them in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes; as soon as the nuts begin to brown, give them a few more shakes and remove from the heat. Be careful—they can burn in an instant!
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Testers Choice

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Testers Choice
Karla Cyr

Aug 02, 2009

When change from the norm is in order, try this seafood and pesto lasagna over the traditional meat-based version—it’s the perfect late-summer entree for when you’re craving something hearty. This recipe creatively unites some of summer’s offerings—basil and zucchini, mostly—and transforms an otherwise standard ricotta filling into a smash hit. The flavors from the basil pesto mingle brilliantly with the zucchini, fresh fish, and various cheeses. I absolutely loved it, and I think you will, too.
Tips: Make the pesto and ricotta filling a day ahead of time, and remember to drain any excess liquid from the cooked zucchini, or the filling will be too wet. Once made, the lasagna can be finished and assembled rather easily.

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