Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Springtime Asparagus lasagna

For those of you who were wondering what the pasta dish in the foreground of yesterday's Sweet Tea Applewood Smoked Chicken Thighs was, here's both the answer AND the recipe...Springtime Asparagus Lasagna! 

Unfortunately, I don't recall when I first made this or where the original recipe came from to credit its creator.  Suffice it to say, it was long and many permutations ago.  Whoever, wherever you are, please know I will be forever grateful for my favorite non-traditional lasagna recipe.  It is the epitome of spring and makes a nice side dish to an Easter ham!

Springtime Asparagus Lasagna

  • 2 pounds asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lasagna noodles, no boil variety, or equivalent (gluten-free to make this GF)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (gluten-free to make this GF)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated, and extra for the top
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cut tips from asparagus spears; set aside separately.  Cut the remaining bottoms diagonally into 1/2" pieces; cook until tender-crisp and plunge into ice water. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the lasagna sheets according to package directions and drain.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan, add cornstarch and cook stirring over low heat until it begins to thicken.  Add broth and continue whisking until smooth.  Stir in feta, zest and salt; stir until sauce is smooth.  It's okay if the feta doesn't incorporate completely...nobody will ever know in the finished dish.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9" X 9" pan.  

Drain pasta well.  Make 1 layer of noodles - cut to size, if you need to.  Spread with 1/4 of the sauce.  Top with 1/4th the reserved asparagus bottoms and sprinkle with 1/3 cup parm.  Continue layering, ending with a layer of noodles.

In a bowl, beat cream with just a pinch of salt to soft peaks.  Arrange the asparagus tips on top of the lasagna and gently put the whipped cream over the top.  Evenly scatter the remaining parm over the top.

Bake at 400  for 30-40 minutes or until golden and bubbling.  Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting.
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