In my kitchen this is a “must make” spring recipe, seriously, as soon as the Asparagus is ready for harvest!
Adapted from Gourmet, I tweaked to my taste = using vegetable stock in place of chicken for its creamy sauce. I also added mozzarella and a ricotta filling. If I am using freshly made ricotta, I’ve experimented and found that its whey, infused with herbs, makes a wonderful base that can be used in the place of vegetable stock. This recipe is written using the stock because I don’t often plan enough ahead for the fresh ricotta, and its whey, version.
Finally, I love using the no boil lasagna noodles (per Gourmet); some packages say to wet these noodles down before working with them…but I found just letting the dish sit refrigerated for at least an hour after assembling gives the dry noodle enough moisture before baking.
one - (8 x 8 baking dish)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off and reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable stock plus 1/4 cup water OR 1-1/4 cup infused whey
4 ounces mild goat cheese
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
Fresh grated zest from one lemon
1/2 cup micro-plane grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup extra for garnish
8 Mozzarella sheets
6 (7 by 6 1/4-inch) sheets instant (no-boil) lasagna
ROAST ASPARAGUS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the tips off the asparagus stalks and reserve for topping the lasagna. Coat a roasting pan with olive oil, add the asparagus stalks - toss to coat all sides. Roast for 10 minutes. Cool and cut into bite size pieces.
Combine the ricotta cheese, parsley, lemon zest and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese – set aside until needed.
In a saucepan melt the butter, add the flour, stir and cook over a moderately low heat for 3 minutes.
Add the broth in a slow stream, whisking. Simmer for 5 minutes. And then, whisk in the goat cheese until the sauce is smooth.
Arrange 2 sheets of pasta in an oiled 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the pasta sheets and top with 3/4 cup ricotta mixture. Top the ricotta with 1/2 of the roasted asparagus stalks and finish with 4 mozzarella sheets.
Add a second layer of the same - 2 pasta sheets, 1/3 portion sauce, the rest of the ricotta, rest of the asparagus stalks and 4 mozzarella sheets.
Layer on the last 2 sheets of the pasta, add the remaining sauce and arrange the reserved asparagus tips over the top.
Let the assembled dish sit covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Garnish with 1/4 cup parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Let it stand for 20 minutes before serving.
SPECIAL NOTE: The recipe in Gourmet tops their lasagna with whipped heavy cream before arranging the asparagus tips, adding the parmesan and then baking; I tried it their way the first time around, it is rich and delicious, but found my additions of a ricotta filling and mozzarella to be just as rich and satisfying.