Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring asparagus lasagna (lasagne agli asparagi)

I know it is spring when:
I feel the constant urge to buy fresh flowers to brighten up the apartment
It is design week in Milan
Every pigeon, butterfly, ladybug and cat around me is doing it
I can't stop photographing the wisteria outside my window (see last post)
My solitary early morning run suddenly gets crowded
I start cutting 40 little nails and toenails 2x a week instead of 1x (is it just my kids' overall growth that is so affected by hot weather?)
I stop wearing socks, but keep an emergency pair in my handbag (fancy!)
Every previously hidden nook and cranny of the apartment is visible and screaming "clean me!"
Asparagus, and other veggies make their appearance at the market
How can you tell it is spring?

Something all of us experience is the appearance of an abundance of greens at the market after a long winter filled with root vegetables.
A few weeks ago Frank, the person behind the blog Memorie di Angelina, posted this recipe. While I have had this kind of lasagna in restaraunts, I had never made it myself and was immediately attracted given the copious amount of asparagus I have been buying these days. Also, when it comes to Frank's recipes, I know I am in good hands: his blog is full of great Italian dishes and everything I have cooked from it turns out perfect. All his posts are rich in descriptions and additional notes, which will answer any questions you may have.
This spring lasagna is a more delicate version of an Italian favorite, if not lighter given the generous amounts of bechamel sauce, butter and Parmesan cheese it requires. I have made it twice in two weeks for friends and it was met with enthusiasm both times. Unfortunately I never manage to keep any leftovers for myself!


It is ideal an ideal dish for a dinner party because it allows you to spend more time with your guests, glass of wine in hand, than in the kitchen. Also, I imagine it freezes well like most lasagna, so when you are making it, you might as well make two and stash the second one away (note to self).


2 bushels of asparagus
lasagna (dry or fresh)
Parmesan cheese
pepper (optional)

Rid the asparagus spears of their tough stems and steam until tender.
While the asparagus is cooking, start preparing the bechamel sauce (follow link in ingredients).
When the asparagus is ready, cut the tips off and set aside. Put the stems into a blender or food processor and blend with a couple of tablespoons of bechamel sauce, adding salt (and a little pepper if you like).
Preheat your oven to 180°C/375°F.
Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and start layering: lasagna sheets, bechamel sauce and asparagus puree, asparagus tips, a dusting of grated Parmesan cheese and a few scattered knobs of butter. Start all over again until you have from four to six layers. Cover the last layer of pasta with bechamel sauce, Parmesan cheese and butter.
Bake in the oven for about a half hour or until the filling bubbles and the top starts turning golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven and let rest for about a half hour before serving.

If I can give you some advice, keep the bechamel sauce runny, especially if you are using fresh lasagna (store bought or not), because it tends to absorb more liqui; and salt both sauces more than you think necessary, as the dish will taste a little bland otherwise.


  1. This does look scrumptious, if I do say so myself... ;=)

    And thanks so much for the kind words, Fiona!

  2. Hehe I love that we're going into opposite seasons. I made a lasagna two days ago but it was full of autumnal vegetables. This looks wonderful! And yes I'd much rather be having your Spring weather :)

    1. I know, I am always very jealous when it is getting dark and chilly here and you are heading towards summer...

  3. I always put a pair of socks in my handbag when I go to the movies because they always have the air conditioning turned down so low. I've never had an asparagus lasagne but it does seem a great idea when Spring strikes xx

  4. I can tell it's spring because I've just got back from eating my lunch outside in the sun, hurrah! This lasagne looks wonderful :-)

  5. W la primavera e w gli apsaragi... Ogni anno in stagione cimdo di risotti, paste e lasagne... Il risotto e la pasta li ho giá fatti ora devo far le lasagne... Mi hai fatto venir voglia! :)))

  6. Oh I am definitely making this lasagne! I don't think I will be able to round up enough wild asparagus (the soldiers stationed in the mountains eat them all) but I will get market ones. Thanks for the idea! (my next post is on wisteria, I have an obsession with them like you :)

  7. This looks so good, and I know I will be buying asparagus at the market tomorrow! Just curious what a bushel means to you? Is it more like a large bunch?

    I laughed out loud when you commented that everything was "doing it" the days - here I see that with the doves (and they are so ungainly when doing it) and then all the young love on campus. It's kinda sweet...

  8. Asparagus Lasagne! I've never tried it before but it sounds wonderful and I'd love to give this a try. I always make same asparagus dishes, and this is going to be a great change! :)


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