4.21.2010

Recipe of the Week: Asparagus Lasagna

There's a short window of time each year when Asparagus takes center stage in the garden, at the farmer's market, and even in grocery stores. During this Asparagus time (usually March and April), I buy it weekly and try to incorporate it in as many meals as possible. These tender green stalks suddenly become the centerpiece.This year I'm buying my asparagus from Farmer & The Dale

I recently started reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. In the chapter, "Waiting for Asparagus," I learned that "the asparagus plant's life history sets it apart, giving it a special edge as the year's first major edible." It's actually a perennial and comes back year after year. I also learned asparagus is considered an aphrodisiac.

Pass the asparagus. Enough said on that.

I recently created this recipe for an Asparagus Lasagna. We were having my husband's workout buddy over for dinner. Andrew is pretty serious about Crossfit workouts and he helped train my hubby for his recent competition. Andrew is also trying out a vegetarian diet to see how effective it is for athletes. For me as the chef that meant trying to find something hearty and yummy. Of course, I threw in some other veggies too but asparagus hogged the real stage for our meal. Four servings later I realized asparagus could be the "hearty" I was after.

What are your favorite ways to serve Asparagus? Do you snap off the ends and saute it in olive oil? Arrange it in quiche or frittatas? Maybe you mix it in with pastas or couscous? We'd love to hear your suggestions. Leave us a comment.


Asparagus Lasagna

Ingredients:

Marinara Sauce:
-2 15-oz. cans organic diced tomatoes (I buy this in bulk from Costco when tomatoes are not in season.)
-1 6-oz. can organic tomato paste
-1 small onion, diced
-2 large garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon dried basil
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1 tablespoon honey

-1 package lasagna noodles
-1 16-oz. container ricotta cheese
-1 12-oz. package shredded mozarella cheese
-1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
-3 cups of other chopped organic vegetables (ideas: zucchini, summer squash, corn, butternut squash, spinach, carrots, etc.)

Directions:
1. Make the marinara sauce first. Saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent and tender.
2. Saute garlic with onions until fragrant.
3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices.
4. Simmer approximately 10 minutes and begin chopping vegetables.
5. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Spoon about half a cup of sauce into the bottom of a 13x9x2 glass pan or rectangle cake pan. Place the first layer of noodles over that sauce. (You do not need to boil the noodles ahead of time.)
7. Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce over noodles.
8. Add about 1/3 of the ricotta cheese over the noodles in small spoonfuls.
9. Add 1/3 of asparagus and other vegetables over the noodles and cheese.
10. Sprinkle 1/3 of mozarella cheese on top.
11. Repeat steps 6-10 with two more layers. Top with extra mozarella cheese.
12. Cover with foil. Bake in oven for 1 hour. (I like to remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to let the cheese turn a golden brown color.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really like asparagus. However, I would like to. So...I am looking for ways to make it that I might like. I think I might have to try this lasagna. I just won't tell Chris that it is in there.
Christine Johnson

Maribel said...

I'll share how we like our asparagus here (wel ive in Spain). Try them sauteed mixed in with fresh artichokes if it's possible, and some spring onions. Throw in some mushrooms. If you would like to add protein, you can add eggs or egg white for a scramble.

Another possibility is an Asparagus omelette . Saute asparagus with any additions you may want (onion is my suggestion) and salt. Beat eggs and mix. Pour onto the pan with a little bit of olive oil. Cook until you can safely turn it with the help of a plate. Put it to cook the other side.

Dorina, you may want to rewrite these to use more proper cooking terms :). Greetings.

Maribel

Michelene said...

I think I need to make this recipe. I wonder if it is too late for asparagus. Did the vegetables get too runny or was it fine? By the way, I understand the recipe just perfectly, no need for a rewrite. Thanks so much for sharing!

Maribel said...

No, not runny at all, since artichokes do not release much water. I think I've even added cubed zucchini at some point and it wasn't bad either. I like to experiment with new ingredients.

Schultz Family said...

My husband and I love our asparagus chopped in thin coins, sauted with mushrooms, onions and peppers. Then we put that mixture over scrambled eggs in the morning-YUM!
Also, for a quick side dish, I will snap the ends off and lay them in a 9x13 dish (covering the bottom of the dish) and drizzle EVOO over top. I'll bake at 350 for about 10 mins or until crisp tender, then toss in some grape tomatoes over and stick it back in for a few mins to soften the tomatoes. To serve I sprinkle it with feta cheese. It ends up being really colorful and pleasing to the eye :)
Jen Schultz

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