These Cheesy Asparagus and Ham Cannelloni make for an impressive dinner without a ton of effort. Lasagna sheets, deli-sliced ham, fresh asparagus, and a simple 3-cheese sauce come together to make a truly special dish for the family.
I'm what I like to call a "season" person-- it gets me through the year, and I tend to get a little overly into the theme at hand. Some might use the word "obsessed". I, for one, think it's a slight exaggeration, but James and Mike would likely say otherwise.
During football season, I compulsively check sports news reports and my fantasy stats. I listen to Christmas music for 12 hours a day throughout the entire holiday season. I add asparagus to nearly every meal possible during asparagus season. Yes, I'm crazy about asparagus season and no, not everyone thinks that's weird.
You might be thinking, "Morgan, if you make so many asparagus recipes, why is this the first asparagus recipe that you've posted all year, and it's already June?!" And to that, I'd say, I have no good excuse. I use a lot of fresh asparagus, but I don't usually think to photograph it-- i's most often present in my morning omelettes, my side dishes, and my hodge-podge pizza toppings that aren't quite blog-worthy. I also use it to remake a lot of my old favorite recipes like the Warm Balsamic Steak and Vegetable Medley or the Dutch Baby Pesto Breakfast Pizza.
But I couldn't let the whole season pass by without giving you something exciting to whip up with what just might be my favorite veggie.
So here we are. With a big baking dish of Cheesy Asparagus and Ham Cannelloni in front of us.
My favorite thing about this recipe? It's... uh... not the asparagus, actually, though that's really incredibly delicious too. It's the easy cheese sauce that reminds me of a hybrid between a lasagna filling and a fondue. The cheese sauce incorporates three different cheeses: ricotta, white cheddar, and parmesan, and is also flavored with some dijon mustard, chili flakes, olive oil, and chives, and then thinned with a bit of milk. All you have to do is mix it all together and spread it on the bottom of the baking dish, and then use the remainder to cover all of your stuffed cannelloni.
The secret to stuffing these cannelloni as easy as possible is to not use dried cannelloni tubes at all-- instead, I layer deli ham and fresh asparagus on lasagna sheets and roll them up into tubes. It's as easy as that. Just place them seam-side down in the baking dish and you've got cannelloni, my friend.
And then that cheese sauce comes back into the picture, like I mentioned before.
And then we bake it all until the asparagus is tender and the cheese is browning and bubbly around the edges.
And then we devour it all.
I've got limited time before asparagus season is over (and I'm already getting stoked about grilling season-- in fact, I've grilled up my fair share of asparagus in the past few weeks) but this is a recipe that I'm going to have to squeeze in a few more times before summer really takes hold, because it truly is such a stunner for little effort. I don't mean to throw too much urgency your way, but if you can swing it this week, grab some of that farm-fresh asparagus while it's still available and treat yourself to an excellent dinner. You'll be glad you did.
Adapted from Taste.com.au
- 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup chopped chives, plus more to serve
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 24-32 stalks fresh asparagus, tough ends removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 small, fresh lasagna sheets
- 8 slices deli ham
- Fresh sliced basil, to serve
If you can't find fresh lasagna sheets, instead buy dried sheets and submerge them in hot water just until they're pliable. Then dunk them in ice water and keep them in the water to prevent sticking until you're ready to use them.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins