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Asparagus Gratin With Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

There is no difficult technique involved in making this dish. It is just a simple and great classic Italian dish.

3 quarts salted water
24 medium-size asparagus spears (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons fine plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Bring the salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus stalks. With a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom half of the stalks. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until tender but still crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the cheese, bread crumbs and lemon zest together until blended.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the asparagus stalks in a single layer in an 8-inch square or similar-size flameproof baking dish. Drizzle the asparagus with the melted butter and sprinkle an even layer of the bread crumb mixture over it. Broil about 4 inches from the heat until the bread crumb mixture is golden brown, about3 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

"Lidia's Italian Table"

Thursday, February 03, 2000

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