Dinner

By Joanne Bruno | June 1, 2011

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Some people think of lasagna only as a winter food.

That seems silly. 

(And heretical.  Especially if you’re a card carrying member of the all-pasta-all-the-time club.  Really? No?  You should join.  We have cute membership cards.  They’re polka dotted.  Like most of my wardrobe.)

I like to think of it as a day that ends in “y” food.  Probably because I can think of a new way to prepare it for every day that ends in “y”.  To infinity and beyond.

At the speed of light.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

For autumn there’s butternut squash, winter has four-cheese, summer’s chock full of pesto and grilled zucchini.

And spring?  That finicky fickle season that we just happen to be in at this very moment?  Spring has asparagus.  And leeks.  And sun-dried tomato pesto.

(So maybe sun-dried tomato pesto really isn’t a seasonal thing.  But it’s a nice segue into the pesto-full world that we’re about to enter in a month or so.  Ease yourself in.  Pinky toe first.)

Photo: Joanne Bruno

What’s so special about this lasagna is that it manages to be comforting without being heavy.  The asparagus and leeks are sauteed briefly and then mixed with ricotta to make a creamy yet nutritious filling.  Then, to top it all off, sun-dried tomato pesto is used as the sauce, which allows it to remain light and refreshing.

All in all, a delicious meal that won’t leave you bemoaning the fact that bathing suit season is soon approaching.  There are plenty of other reasons to worry about that.  No need to let lasagna be one of them.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Adapted from Giada de Laurentis

Joanne Bruno is a food writer and second year medical student.  Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog: Eats Well With Others.  Joanne is also training for her third marathon with Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For more information or to make a donation, check out her fundraising website.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Delicious Asparagus Lasagna Recipe

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna sheets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 (8.5 oz) jars sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 packed cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus another 1/4 cup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and basil and pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup parmesan. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Saute the leeks, onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Mix with the ricotta, salt and black pepper.

3. Sprinkle some of the sun-dried tomato pesto onto the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place some lasagna sheets, then half the asparagus mixture. Next sprinkle some mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat for one more layer. Top with lasagna sheets, some sun-dried tomato pesto, mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

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