Pesto Scalloped Potatoes and Asparagus makes a perfect side for any hearty meat dish. Although, I have to say, it is so gorgeous and flavorful, it might just steal the show! How lovely would this be alongside your Easter ham, or as a brunch item with some eggs? I know it will definitely be on my menu this year.
It took a couple tries to perfect this recipe. The first time I made this, I baked it with the potatoes raw, and ended up over-cooking the asparagus in order to fully cook the potatoes. My husband said it tasted fine, but to me, the asparagus needed a little more bite to them. My solution: parboiling. After a three minute parboil of the potatoes on my second try, it came out right. The potatoes were tender, and the asparagus were perfectly cooked. The whole family agreed this was a winner!
And that creamy cheesy pesto cream sauce…oh my, it is like the icing on the cake that pulls this recipe all together. To further ensure that your asparagus is cooked to perfection, look for asparagus that are larger in size, so they require a bit more cooking time than the thinner ones. You can use either store bought pesto or homemade; just make sure to pour off the layer of olive oil that collects at the top before adding it to the cream sauce.
This dish is wonderful as leftovers too, and perfect for breakfast or lunch the next day, too.
Hope you all are loving this warmer weather. I know I am. Happy Spring!
Pesto Scalloped Potatoes and Asparagus
Scalloped Potatoes kicked up a notch with asparagus and pesto cream sauce!
- 1.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 4-5 potatoes) thinly sliced in rounds
- 1 lb (2 1/2-3 cups chopped) asparagus (large in size) woody ends trimmed, then chopped in inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 garlic clove whole, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus extra to sprinkle on the top
- 7 oz prepared basil pesto Pour out any excess olive olive that is on top
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch tart pan (or 3 qt glass casserole dish), and set aside.
Fill a medium size pot with cold water, and add the sliced potatoes. Bring to a boil on the stove, and add a sprinkle of salt. Once it comes to a rolling boil, boil for about 3-5 minutes (or until potatoes are almost cooked, but still have a bit of "bite" to them), then drain the potatoes (don't rinse) and let them sit in the colander until ready to use.
To make the cream sauce: Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add the garlic clove. Gradually add the milk, and whisk until fully combined. Increase the heat until the mixture is bubbling, and then cook 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Remove the garlic clove, and discard. Remove the cream sauce from the heat, and add the Parmesan cheese and prepared pesto sauce, and stir until fully combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Layer half the potatoes evenly on the bottom of the prepared tart pan, then distribute half the asparagus on top of the potato layer. Spread half the pesto cream sauce over the potatoes and asparagus, then repeat the layers of potatoes, asparagus, and cream sauce again. Cover with tin foil (loosely tent the middle so it doesn't stick to the cream sauce).
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil, sprinkle more Parmesan over the top, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top and the potatoes are fork-tender.*
Let cool slightly, then serve.
*Oven times may vary. Make sure to test the potatoes first before removing from the oven!
A tip on trimming asparagus--take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger, and bend until it breaks. It will naturally break off the woody end. Then, line up all the rest of your asparagus in a row, and chop off the ends at about the same spot the first one broke off.