Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Sure Sign of Spring

I love when asparagus can be found for less than $2 a pound! That means warmer weather is here (along with tornados), and it is time to start eating veggies we haven't seen in 8 long months (or so)! The April issue of Vegetarian Times had a recipe for Asparagus-Pesto Lasagna. The recipe sounded good, but their picture was a bit on the pale and pasty side to me. However, a virtual friend of mine made it and raved about it on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board (a favorite haunt). I trust, better, I run to his recommendations, so I knew I had to make this dish on Monday night when my sister, BIL, and nephew were coming over [none of which are veg-heads, but I still love them! :) ]. The recipe is posted over on the link, but I will repost here, in case the link goes down (thanks to Bob for typing and posting it on the CLBB).

Asparagus-Pesto Lasagna
(Vegetarian Times April 2006)
(Serves 10)

1/3 cup all purpose flour
3-1/2 cups low fat milk, divided
6 Tbsps pesto, or more to taste*
2 Tbsps. Grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish, optional
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1-1/4 lb. asparagus spears, tips cut off and reserved, spears trimmed and chopped into 1/4” pieces
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
16 no-cook lasagna noodles (9 oz)(I used 9 noodles, and couldn't find no-cook!)
2 cups shredded Fontina or part-skim mozzarella (8 oz), divided

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour and ½ cup milk in saucepan until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute until thickened. Remove from heat: stir in pesto, parmesan, salt and pepper. Reserve one cup of the white sauce.

2. Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add chopped asparagus (not tips) and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, cook, stirring, 1 minute and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

3. Coat 13 x 9 baking dish, layer three noodles on bottom, overlapping slightly. Layer with half of cooked asparagus, ¾ cup cheese and half of sauce (I used less sauce, since my noodles were already cooked). Add another layer of pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cooked asparagus, and ¾ cup cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, then with reserved cup of white sauce. Arrange reserved asparagus tipes over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. (I had sauce, ca. 3/4 cup, leftover b/c I had pre-cooked my noodles.)

4. Bake, uncovered. 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes; serve with additional grated parmesan, if desired.

Per Serving: 413 cal; 21g protein; 17g total fat (8g saturated); 44g carb; 44mg chol; 686mg sod; 2.5g fiber; 8 g sugars* Look for the freshest, most flavorful pesto in the refrigerator section of the supermaket, packed in vacuum sealed bags or plastic tubs.

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