This week I purchased all of the ingredients for a wonderful little spring lasagna. However, Mother Nature decided to prank me. It’s snowing today! No worries. i made the lasagna anyway!
For the recipe!
For the bechamel sauce:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 TBS Butter
For the lasagna:
- Fresh lasagna sheets
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 bunch Asparagus
- 1 or two shallots, chopped
- 1/4 pound Scamorza or mozzarella cheese
- 2 TBS Butter
Let’s get cooking!
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Bring salted water to boil in a pan long enough to cook the asparagus spears. Blanch the asparagus for about 5 minutes, then drain and cut off the tips of the asparagus at about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length. Set aside to use as decoration for the top of the lasagna.
- Prepare the bechamel
- There are two ways to prepare bechamel. The first, traditional way, is to mix melted butter and flour in the bottom of a saucepan, and add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Then continue stirring over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- The second is a more modern method utilizing a VitaMix blender, or another high-speed blender that will “cook” soup. A regular blender is not sufficient. The blender has to spin fast enough to bring the liquid to a high heat, just short of boiling. Since this recipe requires a blender in a future step, it makes sense to just do the entire process in the blender. And to prepare bechamel in the blender, you simply need to dump in all of the ingredients, slowly raise the speed to high, and leave it to do it’s thing for about 8-9 minutes. For the first 6 or 7 minutes it will seem like the only thing happening is the milk sloshing around in the blender, splashing almost to the very top of the pitcher. However, quite suddenly after about 7 minutes the mixture will “quiet down” and start to thicken. Voila! Bechamel.
- While the bechamel is being prepared in the blender, continue with the vegetables. Sauté the chopped shallots in a small amount of extra virgini olive oil. Rough chop the asparagus stems and add them to the pot. Continue to cook while the bechamel completes.
Add the vegetables into the blender with the bechamel along with the grated parmigiano. Blend together. The sauce can be as smooth or as chunky as you like. Taste the sauce and add salt to your liking.
- Slice the scamorza thinly.
- Compose the lasagna. First butter a rectangular baking pan on the bottom and all sides. Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce. Add a sheet of pasta. Cover this with a thin layer of sauce and then add some scamorza. Continue with this layering until you use up the ingredients.
- For the top layer, add the asparagus tips, a bit more parmigiano reggiano and some pats of butter. Bake for about 20 minutes.