December 22, 2011
Two words: Lasagna rolls. They're a fun play on the classic lasagna recipe and can be portioned easily. I serve two per person with a side salad and crusty bread.
If you'd like to keep this recipe vegetarian, instead of using beef, saute mushrooms and onions, then wilt in spinach.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
- 6 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 1 lb. ground beef, preferably 80/20
- 1 cup and a little more grated Parmesan
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce, your choice
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and start boiling a large pot of water.
2) We will begin with the bechamel sauce, which is just a fancy term for "white sauce." Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk the flour into the butter, cooking the raw taste out of it. After 3 minutes, whisk in the milk. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the mixture bubble and thicken up, whisking constantly. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Set sauce to the side to cool down.
3) Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high meat. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, then brown and drain. Add spinach until it wilts down. Set pan to the side.
4) When the water has boiled, add a TON of salt to the water — say three palms full. If you don't salt the water now, the pasta won't be seasoned enough. Boring pasta is bad pasta. Add the olive oil to the water (I only do this for lasagna noodles. It helps them from sticking.). Boil four noodles at a time, cooking them according to the box. When they're ready, take them out of the water. Start next round of four noodles.
Tip: Place the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet. They won't stick.
5) In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Incorporate the beef and spinach mixture.
6) Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish and spread the bechamel sauce evenly over the bottom.
7) Take a noodle, lay it flat and spread some of the beef mixture on. From one side, roll the noodle up.
Place the roll with the seam side down into the bechamel sauce. Repeat.
8) Once all of your rolls are tucked into the baking dish, top with marinara sauce, mozzarella and a little more Parmesan cheese.
9) Cover the entire dish with aluminum foil and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
10) Remove the aluminum foil. Place dish back in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, so the cheese becomes golden brown.
11) Take rolls out. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool down, then serve. If you would like more sauce, heat up extra marinara on the stove top to serve with the rolls.
What's your twist on classic lasagna?