Vicky Bennison traveled across Italy to document the pasta-making traditions of Italy's Nonas and their recipes that have been passed down through generations.

Our Asparagus Lasagna from Nona Sperandina is from Le Marche, an eastern Italian region, sits between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Her emphasis is on using simple, local ingredients and traditional methods to create delicious pasta dishes.

Our recipe features store bought fresh egg-based lasagna sheets, although you can make your own pasta like Nona. 


6 to 8 fresh lasagna sheets (350g)
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed where stalks green colour starts to fade to white, cut horizontally in 3-inch pieces
4 tbsp Garlic olive oil
3 tablespoons butter (or Butter olive oil)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated fresh cow's milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper to taste 

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Parboil the lasagna sheets in batches (2 at a time) for 2 minutes. Then place in cold water until ready to use. 

In 2 tbsp Garlic oil, saute the asparagus for about 3-4 minutes until tender, still bright green and a knife easily pierces the flesh along the grain. Transfer asparagus and garlic to food processor and pulse for about 1 minute until you have a pureed texture leaving some slivers and small chunks of asparagus for texture. Set aside. 

In a medium pot, melt the butter (or Butter olive oil) over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 1 minute on heat to cook out the raw flour. Gradually but vigorously whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens and comes to a simmer. Set aside, covered.

Lasagna Assembly:

Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce on the bottom of baking dish. Place single layer of lasagna sheets. Pour 1/4 cup bechamel and spread evenly across lasagna sheets. Spread a few spoonfuls of asparagus mixture on the lasagna sheets. Then a generous layer of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat layers. The last layer should be topped with sauce and cheese and only a small dollops of the asparagus mixture.

Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then turn baking dish front to back. Bake another 20 to 30 minutes until top is golden brown and cheese bubbles. 

Remove lasagna from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Serve with drizzles of Garlic olive oil or fresh EVOO.