Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lasagna Roll-ups

Lasagna was one of the first dishes I mastered when I was a teenager.  But have I pretty much made it the "traditional" way all these years.  This recipe changes things up, but still keeps the same flavors that I love about lasagna.  It came together easily and I was thrilled with the result.  My kids loved helping me make the roll ups and they actually called them "hay stacks" because they looked like bales of hay when you put them in the baking dish.  I hope you try this new "design" on the traditional lasagna.

The filling is made out of:
8oz frozen spinach (defrosted & wrung dry)
16 oz or 2 cups of Ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/8 of a teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg

Mix well and set aside until lasagna assembly

In a large pan saute 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 medium onion finely chopped until fragrant.

Add 1 pound of your favorite ground meat.  I added ground chicken.  Saute until brown.   Then add the following spices:
Salt and Pepper to taste
Red Chili flakes (to taste)
1Tbs Italian seasoning (see my recipe for making your own at the bottom)
1 Tbs brown sugar

Add jar of your favorite pasta sauce.  Stir well and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning before turning off the stove. Once cooked set aside until assembly step.

Note:  I actually used 1 and 1/3 jars of pasta sauce and 1/2 a cup of water to rinse out the jars. 

Take each strip of lasagna and put some filling along the length of it.  Then roll it up as shown in the picture. Notes on boiling the pasta:  Boil the lasagna noodles with plenty of water and make sure you don't let them stick to one another.  Drain just shy of al-dente.  Then rinse the noodles under cold running water so the starch rinses off and the noodles don't stick together.  Be careful not to rip the noodles when you are working with them so they retain their shape.

Place 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish (you will need one large baking dish or two smaller ones to fit all these roll ups).  Place the roll ups seam side down and arrange accordingly.

Spoon remaining sauce over each of the roll ups.

Cover with 8 oz of shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Then uncover and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Serves 6-8 people.  Enjoy.

Italian seasoning:  

3 Tbs of dried Basil
3 Tbs of dried Oregano
3 Tbs dried Parsley
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs red pepper flake

I added ingredients into a small container and mixed all the ingredients together. This mix can be used with any Italian dishes so it's great to have on hand.