Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lasagna with asparagus, chard and queso fresco

This was an experiment, and let me tell you, I should experiment more often!
I had a package of queso fresco that I bought to try and then forgot about in the back of the fridge. Opened it Friday night and discovered it is quite yummy! A little bit like a dry ricotta, but tasting also like a very mild feta. Hmmmm, I thought, this would be good in a pasta dish.

Well, then I had this really fat asparagus, and a bunch of fresh chard from my garden. And half a box of lasagna noodles. I picked up a jar of vodka pasta sauce (with San Marzano tomatoes) while out walking Sophie. And that's all there is to it.
I boiled the noodles (which I broke into smaller pieces) for about 8 minutes. Put a splash of sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish, then a layer of noodles, a layer of torn-up chard, some crumbled cheese, a splash more sauce. I repeated that in the next layer and added the (peeled and sliced) asparagus stems. The top layer was sauce and asparagus tips sliced in half.

I baked it at 350 covered for half an hour, then uncovered it and put shredded mozarella on top and cooked it for another half-hour.
Wow! I wasn't sure how this would turn out. I was afraid it might be too dry, for one thing, because I didn't have a lot of sauce. But it wasn't. I think the moisture in the chard helped. The asparagus stems were still very slightly al dente, and the tips had gotten sort of caramelized.

I originally planned to put meat in this (even bought ground beef at the farmers market this morning) but I'm really glad I decided not to. It works very nicely as it is. The cheese is just salty enough that you don't need any other seasonings; you can really taste the fresh vegetables.

Lasagna may seem more like a wintry dish. but it works pretty well for summer, too!


  1. definitely experiment more often this looks GREAT

  2. Mmm...crispy asparagus tips...looks delicious!

  3. This looks fabulous! I just found your blog. Very nice! I made lasagna today too.

  4. You know I'm going to give you grief for boiling the noodles....

  5. That looks really amazing.

  6. Thanks, db, vicki and denveater! I was really surprised at how well it turned out.

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for stopping by! Lasagna rocks, doesn't it?

    dg, you know I actually thought of you. But! in this case it really was necessary. I was assembling and baking this immediately, and didn't have a lot of sauce. And judging from the consistency of the noodles when it was done, that was the right decision.

  7. what the hell? you a chef? that looks amazing!

  8. Thanks! Not a chef by any means. Just happy to mess around in the kitchen once in a while. And happily lasagna is hard to really mess up.

  9. That looks good! I like the sound of using asparagus in a lasagna. I am going to have to look for the queso fresco to try.

  10. Yum. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kitt! This sounds amazing. I wonder if it would work with kale, too?

  11. I'm making this tonight! Except, after going to four grocery stores, not with queso fresco, darn it. I have some ricotta, feta, and mozzarella. That'll have to do. And fresh chard and asparagus from the farmer's market. yum.

  12. Whoops! Missed a few comments.

    Try it, Kevin, you'll like it.

    Meeralee, I think it would work with kale, but I would sautee or steam it first since the leaves are so tough.

    Amy, the queso fresco was nice but not critical. Your combo sounds good, too. If you have Hispanic markets around, they should have it.