Fresh asparagus reminds me of spring! I enjoy preparing this unusual vegetable in a variety of tasty recipes. I love roasted asparagus seasoned with lemon and fresh herbs. Or lightly steamed asparagus al dente, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and topped with a chopped hard-boiled egg. My maternal grandmother immigrated from Italy and she prepared tasty sandwiches combining asparagus and eggs. She lightly sauteed the asparagus in olive oil seasoning with salt and pepper. Then she added beaten eggs, a little parmesan cheese, cooking the eggs until light and fluffy. Served between two slices of fresh Italian bread it was fantastic! I still make asparagus and egg sandwiches for breakfast or lunch.
Asparagus combines well with mushrooms for a flavorful Lasagna. You can use any combination of mushrooms and I would suggest makes for an interesting Lasagna.
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 pound thick asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3½ cups no-salt vegetable stock
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 9-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 pieces
1¼ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, asparagus, mushrooms, and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until asparagus is crisp-tender, often stirring, about 4 minutes. Transfer veggies to a bowl. Add broth, cream, and bay leaf to the same skillet and boil over high heat until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and whisk to blend. Boil until sauce thickens, about 1 minute, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat.
Stir in nutmeg; discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Vegetables and sauce can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat lasagna dish with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and egg. Spoon 1 cup sauce into the container. Fit four noodles into the dish overlapping slightly. Spread 1/3 of ricotta filling over noodle. Scatter 1/3 of vegetable mixture over, spreading in even layer. Drizzle 1/2 cup sauce over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over noodles. Then two slices of mozzarella Repeat layering 2 more times with noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce, and cheeses. Drizzle remaining sauce over lasagnas, then place mozzarella on top and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
Cover each dish tightly with foil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until noodles are tender for about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.