After such a long and dreary winter, spring seems like even more of a treat this year than usual. Spending time outdoors is nearly impossible to resist. It's a time of renewal. Everything is so fresh and lush. The sunshine warming and pleasing to the body, mind and eyes. The fresh foliage and exploding blossoms and spring flowers are still displaying much of their earliest glory and new delights await.
And if you enjoy cooking and place great importance on making healthy and nourishing meals for yourself and your family, then the beginnings of locally harvested produce will stimulate your imagination and palate as will the future fruits of the upcoming seasons.
One of the earliest crops here in southern Ontario is local asparagus. The season is rather too short for my liking, and for my husband too, who adores this unique and rather robust vegetable. It is true that you can pretty much get asparagus anytime of year where I live, but local produce has a freshness that simply cannot be matched. Each year I come up with new ways to serve this treasured veg and typically tend to go with simple pairings of classic flavors and dress it up with butter, olive oil, lemon and seasonings so the asparagus can shine in all its glory while it lasts.
In this instance, I wanted to experiment with a bolder combination and came up with an asparagus lasagna that features a sun-dried tomato and basil pesto that stars right alongside the asparagus. Mushrooms add some meaty texture and understated earthiness. The cheese mellows the dish out resulting in a complex yet synchronous layering of sensations, literally and figuratively, that you won't soon forget.
The inspiration for this comforting and luscious dish came from a recipe I stumbled across from Joanne Bruno. I will admit that I had never really thought of the idea of including asparagus in lasagna before, but after doing a bit of research and brainstorming, I revised the recipe, revised it yet again while cooking, and the result was even better than I imagined. It's an ideal spring recipe that is refreshing and really rather light and easily digestible despite the obvious cheesy component.
|Asparagus Pesto Lasagna with Mushrooms|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Joanne Bruno
Published on May 13, 2013
Beautiful fresh-tasting home-cooked lasagna with creamy ricotta cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto and fresh spring asparagus
More asparagus creations from Lisa's Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad
Warm Baby Potato and Asparagus Salad
Asparagus Pesto Rice
On the top of the reading stack: various stacks
Audio Accompaniment: morning silence