Asparagus is finally in season and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love asparagus and for the few short weeks it’s at its peak I go a bit nuts and eat it almost every day. Perhaps it’s my imagination but this year’s crop seems to be especially delicious, possibly because of the unusually mild and dry spring we’ve had in Southern Ontario. Last night I sautéed some in olive oil and added a splash of water to steam them until tender-crisp. Sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, the fat spears were sweet and delicious. I look forward to enjoying more over the next few weeks.
While a simple preparation is a great way to show off top notch ingredients, occasionally something fancier is in order. A decadent roasted asparagus lasagna fits the bill perfectly: roasted asparagus bathed in a luxurious cheese sauce and baked until bubbling will tempt even die hard carnivores. Serve with a lightly dressed green salad to cut the richness.
Roasted Asparagus Lasagna
Serves 6 to 8
- 1-1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or neutral oil such as canola or safflower
- Salt and pepper
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups whole or 2% milk (do not use skim)
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
- Salt, to taste
- 3 or 4 large fresh lasagna noodles or parboiled regular lasagna noodles
- 1 packed cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz.)
- ¾ cup grated asiago cheese (about 3 oz.)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Trim woody ends from asparagus and discard. Cut asparagus spears into 2” lengths. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Spread asparagus pieces on a baking sheet in one layer. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes, until spears are just beginning to soften. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
- While asparagus is roasting, prepare sauce. In a large saucepan, heat butter on medium heat until fully melted and beginning to bubble slightly. Add flour and whisk briskly until incorporated into butter.
- Cook butter and flour mixture for about 2 minutes. Add one cup of the milk, whisking constantly. As the mixture begins to thicken slightly (about 2 minutes), add the second cup of milk and repeat the process for the third cup. Continue to stir sauce so it doesn’t burn or turn lumpy.
- Add nutmeg, parmesan cheese and garlic to the sauce. Stir thoroughly until cheese is melted. Season with salt to taste. Remove sauce from the heat.
- In a dish approximately 9” X 12” X 3”, spread 1/3 of the roasted asparagus spears evenly on the bottom. Drizzle 1/3 of the sauce over asparagus. Top with a layer of fresh lasagna noodles, cut to fit the pan.
- Repeat the layers: asparagus, sauce and noodles, asparagus, sauce. Make sure the final layer is sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella, asiago and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
- To serve: let the lasagna cool for about 20 minutes. Use a very sharp knife to slice through the asparagus. Accompany with a salad and crusty bread.
This article first appeared on Suite 101.com
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!