Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lasagna Roll-Ups

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For years I "layered" lasagna like my Italian mom did, until about seven years ago when I saw a TV cook use the same familiar ingredients, but mixed and spread them on individual noodles, then rolled them up.  I thought it looked so attractive at serving time.

It takes a bit more time, but making a batch is more convenient for me, as leftovers freeze well in individual portions or for meals for two.
That way I can serve it more often. 

Prior to roll-ups, I'd only make layered lasagna when having company or the family over dinner.  It's an easy recipe to double or cut in half, too, depending on the number of people you're serving.

Tip: if out of ricotta, make your own:  a quart of milk brought to a boil, with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then removed from heat and 2 tablespoons of vinegar stirred in will make the milk curd after it sets awhile.  Let it cool and strain the curds into cheese cloth or fine strainer to yield 1 cup of ricotta.  Double the ingredients for 2 cups of fresh ricotta.
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Lasagna Roll-Ups
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1/2 cup minced onion
8 oz. crumbled Italian sausage
2 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 cooked lasagna noodles
3 cups Italian tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
To make the filling, saute onion, sausage and garlic in oil.  Let cool.  In a bowl mix and blend ricotta, drained spinach, Parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper.  Add sausage mixture and mix well.

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Meanwhile boil lasagna noodles in salted water until soft and firm to the bite, about 13 minutes. Cool in water then drain.  Spray or butter a 13x9 baking dish. Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of dish. 

Lay out 4 lasagna noodles and spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly down middle of each noodle. Starting at one end, roll up each noodle and lay seam side down in dish. Repeat until all noodles are filled.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSpoon one cup of sauce over rolls then sprinkle top with mozzarella. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top melts and is slightly golden, about 15 more minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining sauce in a small saucepan 
and serve alongside if people want extra sauce on their serving.  Makes 12 rolls. 
Estimated cost $8.40 or less; .70 cents a roll or less.