I found this recipe on Epicurious, originally published in Gourmet 2006 .
I used Dave's Killer Good Seed Bread, since we didn't have any white bread in the house. Though I'm sure it changed the looks, it added to the nutty flavor of the pine nuts.
It's delicious and I can't wait to take it to our staff luncheon. Well .... this recipe or the Vegetable Tian (this version or the second)
yield: Makes 6 side-dish servings
active time: 25 min
total time: 25 min
No other vegetable signals spring like asparagus. In this recipe, it makes for a rich, creamy side dish that's beyond delicious. We love it with... more ›
2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large)
4 slices firm white sandwich bread, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 1/4 oz)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
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Butter a 2- to 2 1/2-quart shallow ceramic flameproof baking dish.
Cook asparagus in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then transfer to baking dish and keep warm, tightly covered with foil.
Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until foam subsides, then cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Add bread and pine nuts and cook, stirring, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add pepper, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, tossing to combine.
Toss warm asparagus with mascarpone, remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined well.
Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly over asparagus. Broil 5 to 7 inches from heat until topping is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Asparagus-Gratin-234269#ixzz1P5uIX9jw