Asparagus and Herb Lasagna


For the bechamel

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot or onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper

For the lasagna

  • 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeleed
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chervil, parsley, chives, basil, arugula
  • 1/2 pound no-boil lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 375

To make the bechamel: Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot or onion, and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for about three minutes until smooth and bubbling but not browned. The paste should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low, and simmer, stirring often for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Strain while hot into a heatproof bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup.

Meanwhile, rinse asparagus stalks and trim ends. Cut pieces into 1 inch segments, splitting any thick stems in half lengthwise. Roast with the unpeeled garlic until nicely browned, then set aside to let cool. Turn oven down to 350.

Boil water for the noodles, and cook until just flexible (about 3 minutes)

Mix 1/4 cup parmesan and the chopped herbs into the bechamel. Mash the roasted garlic into a paste and stir it into the bechamel as well.

Grease an 8 by 8 baking dish. Spread a very thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the dish. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spread a layer of bechamel over the noodles and sprinkle with 1/2 of the asparagus. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup Pamesan. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. Add one more layer of pasta, and spread remaining bechamel and Parmesan over the top.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the lasagna, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling. Uncover, and continue to bake until the top just begins to color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to sit five to 10 minutes, and serve.

Lasagna stores well unbaked in the refrigerator for up to two days

From the New York Times. 



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