Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Asparagus Lasagna

It's time for spring, which means it's time to go outside.  With the air turning warmer and the days getting longer, I find myself wanting to be out of the house more and more.  It's time to throw open the windows, air the winter dankness out of the house and cook up some really fresh foods.  This is also the time of year that I get a little sad, sad that I live in an apartment.

I find myself wishing that I had a backyard and a lawn and a garden.  I imagine myself getting to work in my own little garden.  Turning the soil, fertilizing the dirt, planting the seeds.  I'd love nothing more than to have fresh herbs pop up from beneath the soil, knowing that I was the one that put them there.

This all sounds like a nice idea, doens't it?  But if you're my mom, you know better.  I do not dig in the dirt.  It's a problem, because I love it when spring bulbs begin to poke their shoots through the fresh spring dirt.  I want the harvest fresh produce from my backyard.  I would love nothing more than to clip fresh herbs from just outside my window.  Maybe I'll find my green thumb when I have a house of my own?

For now, I have plans of a potted herb garden in my mind.  A little windowsill farm, providing me with bright green parsley, pungent basil and soft sage.  I know this means that I'll have to get my hands a little dirty, but I think it will be worth it.  Hey Ma!  Look at me!  I'm going to plant a garden!  Just in time for spring!

One Year Ago: Green Velvet Cupcakes

Asparagus Lasagna
Adapted from Giada's Kitchen

This lasagna has a light flavor this is just perfect for spring. Use some locally grown asparagus and you'll be rewarded with an amazing meal! I decided to use the "no-bake" lasagna sheets for this meal to try and cut down on the number of pots and pans I would have to wash afterwards!

1/3 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 10-ounce jar sun-ripened tomatoes in oil
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch thin asparagus
3/4 cup ricotta
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 sheets lasagna (I used the no-boil variety)
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large skillet, fry up bacon until crispy, remove from the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add asparagus and cook for 4-5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and add bacon, ricotta, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

In a small food processor, combine sun-dried tomatoes and their oil with the basil. Process until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan.

Add some of the tomato mixture to the bottom of a 9x9-inch pan. Layer on two lasagna sheets. Add 1/3 of the asparagus mixture followed by 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese. Add two more layers of tomato, lasagna sheets, asparagus and cheese. End with two more lasagna sheets, the remaining tomato mixture and the last bit of cheese. 

Dot the top of the lasagna with small pieces and butter and cook for 25 minutes.
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