|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
A simple white sauce with cheddar cheese brings everything together in this delicious, crumb-topped asparagus casserole. The recipe calls for frozen asparagus, but fresh can be used. Boil or steam the asparagus until just tender and then proceed with the recipe.
Pimiento adds some color to the dish, but I sometimes add diced roasted red bell pepper if I don't have the pimiento. Or replace the pimiento with canned mushrooms or sauteed fresh sliced mushrooms.
- 2 to 3 pounds of asparagus, or 18 to 20 ounces frozen asparagus
- 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup grated mild Cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces drained pimiento, 1/4 cup chopped
Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4). Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
For fresh asparagus, wash it and snap off the woody part of the stalks, and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain the asparagus and transfer it to the prepared baking dish or casserole. For frozen asparagus, follow the cooking instructions on the package.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of the butter with the soft bread crumbs and set aside for topping casserole later.
Blend the flour, salt, and pepper into remaining butter in the saucepan. Continue cooking and stirring over low heat. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce, pimiento, and cheese; stir until cheese has melted.
Pour the sauce over the asparagus in the baking dish and then top with the buttered crumbs.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Don't throw that day-old bread away! Dry the bread slightly in a 325 F oven until it's somewhat dry and crusty and then tear it into pieces. Put the pieces in the food processor and pulse to make coarse or fine crumbs depending on how you plan to use them. Put the crumbs in a food storage bag, seal, and freeze. You'll have crumbs for meatloaf, meatballs, and casseroles any time you need them.
To cook fresh asparagus, snap off the thicker, woody ends. Lay the spears in a deep skillet or saute pan and cover with about an inch of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer for 3 5o 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain immediately and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process.
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