Back in Cari’s vegetarian days and before our Life at No. 71 (more like Life on Bay Street?) began, we subscribed to Vegetarian Times. One of the first memorable recipes we came across was this Asparagus & Pesto Lasagna from the April 2006 issue. It’s weird to think that this delicious, simple pasta dish has been a part of our cooking repertoire for almost five years.
Despite the fact that it tastes indulgent, thanks to its bechamel-like sauce and pesto base, this is actually a lighter recipe. Just be aware of the fact that it uses a LOT of milk.
Asparagus & Pesto LasagnaIngredients:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
6 tbsp. pesto (we use homemade when we can, but storebought is fine too)
2 tbsp. grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus additional for garnish
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. asparagus spears, tips cut off and reserved, spears trimmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
16 no-cook lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk flour and 1/2 cup milk in saucepan until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in pesto, parmigiano, salt and pepper. Reserve 1 cup of white sauce.
2. Warm oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped asparagus (not tips) and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until ender. Add garlic and coo, stirring 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper before removing from heat.
3. Coat 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place layer of noodles in dish, overlapping slightly. Layer with half of cooked asparagus, 3/4 cup mozzarella and half of sauce. Add another layer of pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cooked asparagus and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Top with layer of noodles, then with reserved 1 cup white sauce. Arrange reserved asparagus tips over top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
4. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Let stand additional 10 minutes to thicken sauce.