White Lasagne with Asparagus & Lemon

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on April 22, 2013

in Italian, vegetables, vegetarian

Ok, so it’s been raining here. Normally this time of year is one of warmer weather, buds on the trees, green grass, and the occasional rain shower. Not this year though. Oh no, Mother Nature is ticked off about something and it rained for four days straight and we got around 6″ of rain during that time.

Things are finally green alright, but they’re also soaking wet and many of my friends have water in their basements or living rooms.

Before the “monsoon” of 2013 hit, we had a staff meeting at school in which our principal treated us to lunch. Salads and pizzas of all kinds from a local restaurant adorned the giant table at the back of the meeting, and one in particular caught my eye: a white pizza with ricotta, roasted garlic, and basil. Heaven on a crust, I tell you.

I had the thought to recreate it as a lasagne… and now that it’s spring, asparagus seemed like the perfect addition.

spring asparagus white lasagne -4 copy

I couldn’t make it full-fat and crazy rich like the pizza had been, so I challenged myself to make it as “light” as possible while still keeping an overall flavorful dish.

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I normally shy away from making lasagne that requires pre-cooking the noodles because, honestly, it’s a royal pain in the ass. None of my pots are quite tall enough, the noodles slip and slide all over, and usually, red-sauce based lasagne doesn’t actually need pre-cooked noodles. White sauce though, since it has a lower water content, the noodles need pre-cooking if you don’t want them gummy. And who likes gummy noodles?!

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So this beauty of a lasagne has whole wheat noodles, fresh asparagus, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, low-fat cheese, low-fat milk, only about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and a whole lot of freshly roasted garlic. The only thing it wasn’t low on was amazing and complex flavor.

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Fresh basil on top was the perfect addition, and I’m glad I forgot to mix it into the filling. The freshness gave it that perfect spring flavor that I was looking for. If you make this, keep in mind that it could VERY easily be made full-fat, and would probably hold together better than mine did. I didn’t even care that it fell apart though… it was all I was hoping it would be!

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White Lasagne with Asparagus & Lemon

by What’s For Dinner?

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1 box whole wheat lasagne noodles, cooked and kept hot
  • 1 head garlic, roasted (instructions follow)
  • 16 oz. fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • juice of two lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A few leaves of basil, chopped

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Make the sauce

Heat the lemon juice and butter/oil in a small saucepan.

Add the flour and whisk until thick, like a brownie batter.

Add the milk, salt, and pepper, and stir until thickened.

Whisk in the parmesan cheese, then simmer over low heat until ready to use.

Make the filling

Mix together 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the ricotta, and all the cloves of roasted garlic.

Stir until the garlic is mixed in.

Assemble

Layer noodles, filling, and asparagus in alternating layers, ending with noodles, saving a few asparagus halves for the top.

Pour the sauce over the noodles, allowing it to settle a few minutes. Top with remaining cheese, and top with the asparagus halves.

Bake until the top is brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with chopped basil on top.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kasha the FarmGirl April 22, 2013 at 9:42 PM

YUM! This looks amazing and only 15 minutes of prep time?!?! I’m in!
Kasha the FarmGirl´s last blog post ..The FarmGirl Cooks!

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Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche April 23, 2013 at 3:57 AM

Yummmm! This sounds absolutely gorgeous! Perfect summery version of lasagne :)
Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche´s last blog post ..White chocolate and pistachio baklava

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Maryz April 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM

How do you roast the garlic? This looks delicious!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 23, 2013 at 2:37 PM

I completely forgot to link that! Here’s the link to instructions http://www.imadedinner.net/2012/05/03/creamy-roasted-garlic-pasta/

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Laura April 23, 2013 at 7:25 PM

This looks fabulous! I love asparagus and lemon together. Add cheese, and it’s perfection. Can’t wait to try this.

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Marianne April 24, 2013 at 12:58 AM

I actually just saw another recipe for a roasted cauliflower & brussel sprout lasagna with a white sauce…it’s like the cosmos are telling me I need to make a tomato free lasagna! You’re looks awesome and so spring-y! I bet some sauteed mushrooms would be awesome in it as well.
Marianne´s last blog post ..The System Is Down

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 24, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Oh I would love to put mushrooms in it… but someone i live with loathes them!

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