Friday, April 9, 2010

JUST RIGHT FOR SPRING


Roasted Asparagus Lasagna with Goat Cheese

The light flavors of asparagus and goat cheese practically scream SPRING and since we are now done with Passover, I don’t know about you but I am craving pasta.
This is a great do ahead dish. The whole thing can be assembled a day or two before serving and then popped into the oven for a lovely spring dinner or light lunch. I like lasagna, but I occasionally need a change from the usual tomato concoction. This version is bursting with caramelized asparagus, lemon and goat cheese. Serve it with a salad and some crusty bread and you a have a great spring meal.

1 pound lasagna pasta (I like the whole wheat pasta available at most markets)
2 pounds fresh asparagus-stem end trimmed and stalks cut into1 ½ inch pieces
Extra Virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups 2% milk
4 ounces goat cheese
Zest of 2 lemons


Pre –heat broiler to high.
1. Place a large stockpot over high heat and cook lasagna pasta until it is al dente. Drain and toss with olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.

2. Toss the asparagus pieces with salt and pepper and Extra Virgin olive oil. Place on a broiler proof pan and cook until caramelized and lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes). Be sure to turn the asparagus frequently so that it is evenly golden brown. Remove from the broiler and set aside.
3. Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and whisk the flour in to milk. Stir the mixture to cook out the raw flour taste (about 1 minute.) Add the milk at once and whisk constantly. The mixture will thicken when the milk reaches a boil. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese and lemon zest. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat oven to 350. Layer the pasta in a casserole. Scatter 1/3 of the asparagus at the bottom of the pasta. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the asparagus. Repeat the layering process until you have 3 layers. Finish with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. The lasagna can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 days before baking.
5. To bake, lightly cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to set up before slicing.

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