Spring Casserole with Fennel, Asparagus & Golden Raisins

Spring Casserole

with Fennel, Asparagus & Golden Raisins

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Casseroles are truly greater—and more delicious—than the sum of their parts. Uniting the ingredients with a rich sauce and baking them together lets the flavors play off each other, providing contrast and balance. In this spring casserole, we’re combining fresh, seasonal produce with traditional aromatics and golden raisins—which add just the right amount of sweetness to match the rich béchamel sauce, sharp Parmesan cheese and herbaceous fennel.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Spring Casserole with Fennel, Asparagus & Golden Raisins
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the noodles:
1 Cook the noodles:

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and dry the pot.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the noodles cook, preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus; thinly slice the asparagus on an angle. Pick off and reserve the fennel fronds (the green, thread-like tops of the plant). Cut out and discard the fennel core; thinly slice the stems and bulb. Peel and thinly slice the onion.

Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, fennel stems and fennel bulb; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.

Make the béchamel sauce:
4 Make the béchamel sauce:

In the same pot used to cook the noodles, heat the butter on medium-high until melted. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Stir in the milk and ⅔ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until thoroughly incorporated.

Finish the filling & bake the casserole:
5 Finish the filling & bake the casserole:

Add the golden raisins, cooked vegetables and cooked noodles to the pot of béchamel sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Toast the breadcrumbs & serve your dish:
6 Toast the breadcrumbs & serve your dish:

While the casserole bakes, in the same pan used to cook the vegetables, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Top the baked casserole with the toasted breadcrumbs and fennel fronds. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the noodles:
1 Cook the noodles:

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and dry the pot.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the noodles cook, preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus; thinly slice the asparagus on an angle. Pick off and reserve the fennel fronds (the green, thread-like tops of the plant). Cut out and discard the fennel core; thinly slice the stems and bulb. Peel and thinly slice the onion.

Prepare the ingredients:
Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, fennel stems and fennel bulb; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.

4 Make the béchamel sauce:

In the same pot used to cook the noodles, heat the butter on medium-high until melted. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Stir in the milk and ⅔ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until thoroughly incorporated.

Make the béchamel sauce:
Finish the filling & bake the casserole:
5 Finish the filling & bake the casserole:

Add the golden raisins, cooked vegetables and cooked noodles to the pot of béchamel sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

6 Toast the breadcrumbs & serve your dish:

While the casserole bakes, in the same pan used to cook the vegetables, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Top the baked casserole with the toasted breadcrumbs and fennel fronds. Enjoy!

Toast the breadcrumbs & serve your dish:
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