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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Asparagus lasagna by Giada de Laurentiis

Some of you all asked about the photo I Instagrammed earlier this week - a yummy classic with a new take from Giada.

This Asparagus lasagna recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis's cookbook "Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites." I made it gluten free and am quite happy with how it turned out. I baked it Sunday and have had lots of leftovers.

Asparagus lasagna
6 to 8 servings

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
9 lasagna sheets, fresh or dried
2 (8.5 ounce) jars sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 pound pancella, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (15 ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta or 2 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta. Drain the pasta.

In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Here is a pic of the gluten-free lasagna pasta I bought. I purchased it at the local Whole Foods. I just cooked the whole box. This brand uses brown rice pasta, which isn't the healthiest of gluten free flours but I never indulge so why not?

The pile of asparagus. On the right, in the bowl, is the ricotta before adding the sauteed veggies to it. I always feel like lasagna comes together more easily if you let the ricotta get to be room temperature (the whole building layers part).

In a large skillet, brown the pancetta until crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Add the tablespoon of olive oil, the onion, and garlic to the same skillet and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Side note: honestly my asparagus was not tender in 4 minutes. I ended up letting it go for close to 10 minutes. Especially since she never says to remove the onion and garlic, so I was cooking it more slowly to prevent burning of the onion/garlic.
I decided to cook the asparagus in two batches so I would not have to wait forever (Downton Abbey was going to start any minute!).

Combining the asparagus, onion, and garlic with the ricotta.

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Sprinkle some of the sun-dried tomato mixture over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place a layer of lasagna sheets on top of the sun-dried tomato mixture and spread the noodles with half of the asparagus mixture. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella cheese and a third of the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Make another layer in the same fashion. Top with a third layer of lasagna sheets, some sun-dried tomato mixture, and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Dot the top with the butter. Bake until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.

See that little square on the baking dish. No, that isn't a giant cube of unmelted butter on the already-baked lasagna, it is a stupid chunk of Romano cheese that fell out of my hand-crank grater when I was putting some on top of the lasagna. For whatever reason it did not melt.

The final product! It was great. And as is always accurate with lasagna, it has only gotten better through the week (especially with Polar Vortex II hanging out!).

2 comments:

  1. Yum yum yum. I need to make this.

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    Replies
    1. Let me know if you make this dish. It really has been marvelous. I think I have one last piece that I will enjoy tonight.

      XO

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