The veggie casserole you didn’t know your table needed.
Asparagus is one of those veggies that when it’s overcooked can be unappetizing. But, when it’s cooked just right it’s one my favorites. And this asparagus bread crumb casserole is asparagus done right. The fresh stalks are swimming in a creamy, silky sauce and topped with lightly crispy breadcrumbs- all baked to perfection until golden brown on top.
This is the sort of show stopper recipe that’s perfect for big gatherings since it not only makes a lot, but it’s a very special dish. After all, it’s not every day that you have veggies prepared in a sauce made with whole milk, cream cheese, and a little bit of mozzarella cheese.
In case this sounds rich there’s also a bit of a brighter flavor from some freshly-grated lemon zest in the sauce as well.
This combination of rich and zesty with the freshness of the asparagus makes for an all around wonderful side dish. Despite getting blanched and then baked in the cream sauce, the asparagus isn’t soft or overdone at all. In fact the crisp texture makes a nice contrast to the creamy sauce.
It goes with just about any meat or fish. But, if you happen to have any leftovers this is wonderful heated up on some toast for breakfast or lunch as well.
If you love green bean casserole and you love asparagus then you’re going to enjoy this creamy dish.
Asparagus Breadcrumb Casserole
20m prep time
25m cook time
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (plus more for greasing)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 1/2 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 450˚F. Bring large pot of water to boil. Place asparagus into water then cook for 1 minute or until bright green. Have a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes in it at the ready. As soon as asparagus is flash cooked remove from pan and place into cold water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before draining.
- While asparagus cools melt 1 tablespoon butter in microwave. Mix with breadcrumbs and set aside.
- Add asparagus to greased 9”x13” baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. [use metal]
- In skillet melt remaining butter over medium. Add garlic add cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute or until light tan in color.
- Whisk in milk a little at a time until uniform in texture. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour sauce over asparagus and stir. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Recipe adapted from Eating Well.