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Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta,
 Goat Cheese, and Lemon

February 26, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

Asparagus Lasagna Slice

Lasagna terrifies me.

Asparagus Lasagna Slice2

For years, I dreamed of re-creating the Italian comfort classic in my kitchen, but I was always scared off by the many potential pitfalls. It’s too dry. It’s too soupy. The noodles are undercooked. The noodles are mush. The noodles are stuck together in a giant starch-bomb. Who are these kitchen acrobats willing to walk the cheesy Cirque du Soleil tight-rope of perfectly baked lasagna?

Asparagus Lasagna Baked

Well, I know of one lasagna superhero, and she’s been the greatest deterrent of all to my taking on lasagna. It’s my mom. She makes lasagna once a year for Christmas dinner, and it’s outstanding. Her take on the classic lasagna is hearty and packed with flavor, and it comes out perfectly every time.

Asparagus Lasagna Layers

I just can’t compete with that. It seemed pointless to attempt a classic lasagna knowing it would never measure up to Mom’s. So I decided the only way I could bake a lasagna that didn’t leave me feeling dead inside would be to take it in an entirely different direction.

Asparagus

I knew I wanted to nix the traditional red meat sauce and use a béchamel punched up with tangy goat cheese instead. Then I held a series of vigorous auditions in the produce department, and after much deliberation, ultimately cast asparagus, lemon, and thyme as the leads. Diced, sautéed pancetta plays a salty, supporting role. (Sorry, I’m watching the Oscars.)

Pancetta

The resulting lasagna is almost as delicious as Mom’s, but could not be more different. It’s really the perfect dinner for a late February evening, when I’m still craving winter’s creamy comfort foods, but I’m ready for bright, fresh flavors. The tender asparagus and sunshiny lemon zest reach out from under a velvet blanket of cheese and pasta to invite springtime to stay for dinner.

Continue reading for the Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon recipe

4.6 from 8 reviews

Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Servings: 6
 
Tender asparagus and sunshiny lemon zest reach out from under a velvet blanket of cheese and pasta to invite springtime to dinner.
Ingredients
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • ¼ pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • White pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ pound lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup 4-cheese Italian blend
Instructions
  1. Fill a large stock pot with water, and add the garlic cloves. Bring to a boil while you trim the asparagus by breaking off the woody ends. Do not throw the ends away. Yet.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add a pinch of salt and the woody asparagus ends. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the asparagus ends and the garlic cloves from the water and discard the stems and garlic. Do not discard the water.
  3. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the asparagus stalks. Boil for four minutes, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Again, do not discard the cooking water. Allow the asparagus to cool for a few minutes, then drain. Set the asparagus aside.
  4. In a large skillet brown the pancetta until crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon.
  5. Add the butter to the rendered pancetta fat and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the milk all at once and whisk constantly. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Thin out the white sauce with about 1 cup of the asparagus cooking water.
  6. Bring the rest of the asparagus cooking water back to a rolling boil, and add the lasagna noodles. Cook per box instructions; drain.
  7. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with foil. Spread a very thin layer of white sauce over the bottom of the dish. Cover with a layer of pasta, then top with ⅓ of the asparagus, ⅓ of the pancetta, and ⅓ of the white sauce. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with the white sauce. Sprinkle on the shredded cheese.
  8. Cover tightly with plastic wrap if storing in the refrigerator (can be stored up to 2 days before baking).
  9. Preheat oven to 350.
  10. Cover the lasagna tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to set up before slicing.
Linked to: Sweet Details, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, Flour Me with Love, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Sweet Spot, My Favorite Finds, Southern Fairytale, Things that make you say Mmmmm, Sweetology, Mom’s Crazy Cooking, Nap Time CreationsChef in Training, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, It’s a Blog Party, 33 Shades of Green, King’s Court IV, Lil’ Luna, Southern Product Queen, Newlyweds, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Lady Behind the Curtain, Junk in Their Trunk, Made Famous By, This Chick Cooks, Creations by Kara, Gooseberry Patch, Eat at Home, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, A Little Nosh, Food Trip Friday, It’s a Keeper, Bizzy Bakes, Hear the Bells, Miz Helen’s Country CottageNot Your Ordinary Recipes, Tidy Mom, Country Cook, Jennifer Cooks, Crumbs and Chaos, Be Different, Act Normal, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, 2 Maids-a-Milking, Feeding Four

28 Comments »

  1. cindy says:

    This looks like the perfect lasagna, love the asparagus.

  2. Marilyn says:

    OMG this is amazing. My kids and I enjoy asparagus but my hubby LOVES it! I have already gone to the grocery store :( But this will be on next week’s menu for sure Thanks so much for sharing this! Have an outstanding week!

  3. Mary says:

    This looks so good. I love asparagus. I will have to try this.

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  4. lisa says:

    Love the ingredients on this! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  5. Vciki V says:

    Your description of this alone makes me want to try it: STAT!

  6. jonnique says:

    Looks so good thanks for sharing at Taste This Thursday!

  7. Ashley says:

    Thanks for linking up with The Recipe Party!
    Hope to see you again Sunday :)
    <3 Ashley

  8. What a fantastic take on lasagna! I love the combination of flavors you used. I am totally saving this recipe for asparagus season … thank you!

  9. michie says:

    i love asparagus,i will try this one.visiting from food trip friday

  10. Iska says:

    Looks really yum! It looks the way I like it… with crunch in the right places. Sounds healthy, too :-)

  11. Your lasagna looks different and delicious! Great idea with the asparagus and the goat cheese, that’s an Oscar winner!

  12. Thanks for linking to Must Try Monday. Yum! This is so good looking. So many great flavors going on in here.

  13. Miz Helen says:

    We just love Asparagus, I just picked some up at the Farmers Market and this will be a great recipe to try. Your Asparagus Lasagna looks delicious! Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  14. Asparagus makes me weak in the knees! What a gorgeous dish you have created! Thanks for sharing with Weekend Potluck!
    ~Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

    • Silvi says:

      I can’t believe how good this was! This is one of those “simple-but-genius” reepcis. I had some variation in the amounts – I did about 12 oz of asparagus, two cloves of garlic and a whole small yellow onion – but it was amazing. I thought I would save half for the next day, but it didn’t last. Also, I am not eating any sugar products and can’t find any sugar-free bacon or ham so I went without that. The chives alone tasted and looked beautiful alone but I added some crushed walnuts on top for a little variation in texture.

  15. Lindy@itsybitsypaper says:

    I love this recipe. I hope you will stop by and link up to my St. Patty’s Day Project Parade.

  16. Maria says:

    That sounds like awesome flavor combinations! Love asparagus, pancetta and goat cheese! Sounds great!

  17. Becky says:

    I love love love goat cheese and pancetta. The asparagus add a great touch! Gourmet lasagna at it’s finest! I’m going to try this! Thanks for linking to Foodie Friday! Not Your Ordinary Recipes
    Not Your Ordinary Agent

  18. Karyn says:

    Beautiful recipe- It sounds amazing! Thanks so much for linking up this week to Things That Make You Say Mmmmm!

  19. [...] Asparagus Lasagna from Galley Kitchen [...]

  20. Mindie says:

    This sounds like a creative yummy lasagna.

  21. Miz Helen says:

    Congratulations!
    Your post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  22. Just saw this recipe on Happy Hour Projects Luck o’the Irish link party, and had to stop by. I LOVE asparagus, and this looks incredible. Hope you’ll stop by and check out my post, #87, http://cupcakesandkalechips.com/2012/03/11/lucky-charms-cupcakes-and-breakfast-rules/

  23. [...] Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, & Lemon from Galley Kitchen Stuffed Crust Meat Lovers Pizza from Mom on TimeOut [...]

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