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From the New York Times

Recipes for Health
Asparagus and Herb Lasagna

Published: June 25, 2010

This is a great do-ahead meal for a dinner party. The lasagna takes a little time, but it’s actually very simple and keeps very well for a day or two in the refrigerator before you bake it.

Martha Rose Shulman presents food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and to eat.
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 pounds asparagus
1 recipe olive oil béchamel
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chervil, parsley, chives, basil, arugula
1/2 pound no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Fill a pasta pot with water, and add the garlic cloves. Bring to a boil while you trim the asparagus by breaking off the woody ends. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the asparagus ends. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover partially and simmer the asparagus ends for 30 minutes. Remove the asparagus ends and the garlic cloves from the water and discard. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the asparagus stalks. Boil thick asparagus stalks for five minutes, medium and thin stalks for three minutes. Transfer them, using a spider or tongs, to a bowl of ice water. Do not drain the cooking water. Allow the asparagus to cool for a few minutes, then drain and dry on a clean kitchen towel. If the asparagus stalks are thick, cut in half lengthwise first, then cut the asparagus (thick or thin) into 1-inch lengths. Set aside.

2. Whisk 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the asparagus into the béchamel, along with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the herbs. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and adjust salt.

3. Oil or butter a 3-quart baking dish or lasagna dish. Bring the water back to a rolling boil, and drop in enough lasagna noodles to cover the surface of the baking dish (for my rectangular dish, that’s three lasagna noodles). Boil just until the pasta is flexible (about three minutes for no-boil lasagna). Using tongs, transfer the pasta to a bowl of cold water, then drain on a clean dish towel.

4. Spread a very thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the dish. Cover with a layer of pasta. Stir the asparagus into the remaining béchamel, and spread a layer over the noodles. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Parboil another layer’s worth of pasta, and top with the asparagus béchamel, then with another 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Repeat with one more layer. End with a layer of pasta, and if you have any béchamel left, spread it over the top and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan. Cover tightly with plastic if storing in the refrigerator.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the lasagna, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling. Uncover, and continue to bake until the top just begins to color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to sit five to 10 minutes, and serve.

Yield: Serves six.
Advance preparation: You can make this up to a day or two before you bake it. Don’t drizzle on the last tablespoon of olive oil until you’re ready to bake. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate. Remove the plastic, and replace with foil before baking.

Nutritional information per serving: 305 calories; 9 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 15 milligrams cholesterol; 40 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 212 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 16 grams protein
Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at




Princess Kindheart
Posts: 974
Reply with quote  #2 
Nom Nom Nom ...  this sounds delicious....   I'm going to have to go look for the olive oil bechemel recipe ... and find some nice asparagus from the farmers market !


"Cancer May Leave Your Body, but It Never Leaves Your Life" - Lance Armstrong Foundation Manifesto.

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Reply with quote  #3 
Try this!
Béchamel is a basic French sauce; the Provencal version adds the garlic flavor. Provencal béchamel is an olive-oil sauce with a light garlic flavor, used on many Provençal dishes. Provencal white sauce (sauce blanche) uses the same recipe, but with hot water in place of the milk.
Recipe (6 servings)
1 cup olive oil [huile d'olive]
2 cloves garlic [ail]
1 sprig parsley [persil]
2 Tblsp flour [farine]
1 cup cold water
1 cup hot milk

1. Put the flour into a bowl and thin with the cold water. Keep stiring as you add the hot milk.
2. Heat the olive oil with the garlic and parsley, being careful not to singe the garlic.
3. Add the flour-liquid mixture to olive-oil mixture and stir continuously over low heat until the sauce is smooth.



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