If it is possible for a side dish to be "wow" and "simple" at the same time, this is it. This recipe starts with a classic oven-roasted asparagus and finishes with a scratch-made white cheddar cheese sauce. Topped with a light sprinkle of nutmeg, this cheesy side dish will be a new family favorite.
Roasted Asparagus with White Cheddar Sauce
My family is 100% pro-asparagus. Warm and roasted asparagus is one of our favorite side dishes, just as is. But if you have been following our blog long enough, you know I have a thing for cheese.
Cheese is kind of like bacon. It makes everything better.
For this Roasted Asparagus with White Cheddar Sauce, we picked out the biggest asparagus we could find. You can use the thinner asparagus if you would like, but I wanted all of that asparagus flavor to stand up to the cheese sauce.
Basic Recipe for Roasted Asparagus:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash asparagus and dry.
- Break off the tough ends by gently bending toward the cut end. (They will snap where they need to.)
- Drizzle the asparagus lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
- Toss with your hands to coat.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper (optional).
- Roast in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.
While all that yummy asparagus goodness is roasting in the oven, time to work on this easy sharp white cheddar cheese sauce. The sauce is so easy and is also delicious on Brussel sprouts, broccoli and potatoes.
First melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour. Stir until well blended and bubbly. You want to cook the flour in the butter for a couple of minutes.
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We wanted our cheddar cheese sauce to be on the thicker side. If you prefer yours on the thinner side, start with less flour.
Once the flour mixture is smooth and buttery, slowly whisk in the milk. (Get the complete ingredient list and amounts at the bottom of this post.) I also add my seasonings at this time and make sure they are well blended.
Once the milk is incorporated and the cheese sauce mixture is smooth, increase the heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a low boil. Be sure to whisk frequently.
Remove from heat and slowly stir in the shredded white cheddar. You can also use yellow cheddar if you prefer, but I really do like the taste of the white cheddar sprinkled with a bit of nutmeg.
*Note: use the nutmeg sparingly. You don't want to over power the sauce, but it adds a nice, warm touch. If you love nutmeg like I do, sprinkle just a little over the top before serving, too.
Shred your own cheese for the best results. Pre-shredded cheese contains additives that might change the consistency of the sauce.
Serve the Roasted Asparagus warm drizzled with a generous amount of the homemade white cheddar cheese sauce. If your family is anything like mine, you'll need to serve extra cheese sauce on the side, too.
How easy is this delicious side dish recipe? This is a tasty way to jazz up roasted asparagus that your family will love.
Roasted Asparagus with White Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- 1 pound asparagus washed, dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces white sharp cheddar shredded
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg plus more for sprinkling, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Break the woody stems from the asparagus spears.
- Place the prepared asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. Toss with your hands to coat the spears. Sprinkle with a little bit of black pepper and salt if desired.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, turning halfway during cooking.
- While the asparagus is roasting, prepare the white cheddar sauce. Start by melting the butter in a medium sized sauce pan over low heat.
- Whisk in the flour. Cook and stir until smooth and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the milk. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Increase the heat to medium high to bring the sauce to a low boil. When the mixture starts bubbling, remove from heat.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.
- Serve the roasted asparagus with a generous portion of the cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with a small amount of nutmeg to finish if desired.