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Beans and Barley Pesto Lasagna

4 C. tomato basil sauce (see recipe)
Pesto filling (see recipe)
1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked
9 slices mozzarella cheese (about 12 oz.)
Chopped fresh basil and toasted pine nuts for garnish
Prepare tomato basil sauce and pesto filling.

In 13 x 9 pan, layer about a fourth of tomato basil sauce, a third of lasagna noodles and a third of pesto filling. Repeat layering process twice more. Top with remaining tomato basil sauce.

Cover with foil; bake at 350F. 30 minutes or until lasagna is heated through. Sauce may bubble around edges of pan. Uncover, top with cheese and bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts and starts to brown. Garnish with basil and pine nuts. Makes 8 to 12servings. Note: To toast nuts, put in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to7 minutes, stirring frequently until nuts begin to brown, then stirring constantly until golden brown. Or, toast in microwave: Spread 1 cup nuts on paper plate. Cook on high 2 1/2to 4 minutes, or until heated through, stirring every 2 minutes.

Tomato basil sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1 can (28 oz.) imported Italian crushed plum tomatoes
1 T. tomato paste
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
2 T. minced fresh basil or 2 t. dried

Saute garlic in oil in saucepan until softened; be careful not to burn. Add crushed red pepper. Cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and salt; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cook until oil and tomatoes are well blended. Add basil.

Makes about 3 cups.

Pesto filling:
2 lbs. ricotta cheese (two 15- to 16-ounce containers)
1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. chopped parsley
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. commercial pesto (fresh or frozen, thawed) or homemade pesto (see note)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with electric mixer. Makes about 5 cups.

Note: To make homemade pesto: blend 1 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, 1 clove garlic and 1tablespoon lemon juice in blender until coarsely pureed.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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