Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
4 cheese lasagna

For the bechamel
3 1/2 cups milk
1 fresh rosemary sprig, 2 inches long
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon House salt
White peppercorns in a pepper mill

For the bread crumb
1 loaf good-quality country-style white bread, about 1/2 lb, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoon minced garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the cheese layer
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the noodles
20 sheets dried lasagna noodles


For the sauce
Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the rosemary sprig and place over medium-low
heat until small bubbles appear along the pan edge

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk
to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for about 2
minutes. When the milk is hot, add the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly.
Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 20
minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Set aside to cool

For the bread crumbs
Heat over to 350. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the bread
cubes to produce coarse crumbs. In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, garlic and salt
and pepper to taste. Add enough olive oil to moisten the mixture slightly. Spread on a
baking sheet and bake until barely golden, 2 to 4 minutes

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until golden and fragrant, about 10
minutes. Let cool. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees

For the cheese layer
In a large bowl, combine the toasted pecans, ricotta, mascarpone, Fontina, 1 cup of
the Parmesan, rosemary, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add 1 cup of
the bechamel and stir vigorously to mix.

For the noodles
Fill a deep pot three-fourths full with water and bring to a rolling boil. Slowly add 1/4
salt. Add the lasagna noodles and give everything a big stir. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes remove the noodles from the water with tongs to half sheet pans
lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Ladle some of the pasta cooking water
onto the noodles to keep them from drying out

For final assemble
Spread a thin layer of bechamel over the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish or lasagna
pan. Top with a layer of pasta, then with a layer of the cheese mixture. Top with a
layer 1/4 inch thick of the bechamel. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the remaining
Parmesan. Top with another layer of pasta sheets. Alternate layers of the cheese
mixture and bechamel and Parmesan, until all the ingredients except the Parmesan are
used up, ending with bechamel. Scatter the remaining Parmesan and the bread
crumbs over the top

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake until the dish is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.
Uncover and bake until the bread crumbs are crunchy, about 15 minutes longer

Remove from the oven and let the lasagna stand for 30 minutes before serving