Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lasagna Roll-Ups

More really good vegetarian things. These will impress your guests.
I tried the rolls with both cottage cheese and ricotta based filling. Both versions were excellent-- the main difference was texture (plus, I thought the cottage cheese added a little more 'cheese' taste). If you want Italian manicotti-style rolls, use the ricotta. If you want a slightly more 'American' version, use the cottage cheese.
The rolls weren't that hard to make, but it did have several steps and dirtied quite a few pans.
Based off of this recipe.

Serves 3 (around 15 rolls)
15 minute noodle prep + 35 minutes for sauce + 10 minutes for filling + 15 for assembly + 40 min for baking (almost 2 hrs total)
- large saucepan
- small saucepan
- large baking pan (cookie sheet will work) covered in Al foil

~10 oz. box of lasagna noodles (around 14 noodles) --> I used Tinkyada GF rice noodles
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 medium white onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can crushed or finely diced tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil -or- 1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
dash of salt and pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
half of a 6 oz. bag of fresh spinach (quite a large handful of spinach-- it wilts alot)
1 tsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1.5 c. cottage cheese -or- ricotta cheese
1 large raw egg
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

1. Lay the full lasagna noodles into the large saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. If they don't all fit, do them in batches. On an empty counter, lay down a large sheet of foil.
2. Bring the noodles to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are barely tender... you want them flexible enough to roll and bend without breaking, but DEFINITELY not fully cooked. They should be chewy on the inside.
3. Place the al dente noodles flat onto the aluminum foil. Don't overlap them too much... they'll stick together once cool.
4. Continue to cook the noodles and lay them out flat; add more boiling water as needed. Let the noodles be for awhile as you prepare the filling and sauce (they won't loose elasticity if they cool). Go ahead and rinse and re-use the large saucepan for the sauce.
1. Peel and mince up the (total) 10 cloves of garlic. [Hint: I like to mash the cloves slightly with a meat mallet so they'll slip right out of their peel and lie flat for easier dicing!] About half of the garlic will go in the sauce, the other half will season the filling. Peel and remove ends of the onion, then dice it up. Wash and coarsely chop up any fresh basil, oregano or parsley leaves. Set them aside.
2. Throw about 6 cloves worth of diced garlic into the waiting large saucepan. Add in all of the onion and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Saute the garlic and onion for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let the garlic burn.
3. Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour right into the saucepan (DON'T drain!). Go ahead and add about 1/4. cup more water to the sauce. Season sauce with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir it every once in awhile. If too much water boils off, add a little more in (it's a sauce, after all).
Remove from the heat and focus on the filling
1. In a small saucepan, place the rest of the diced garlic with 1 tsp. olive oil. Begin heating over medium-low heat. Rinse off the spinach leaves and stuff about half into the saucepan with the garlic/oil. Stir the leaves until they wilt, then add in the rest. Let the garlic, oil and wilted leaves sizzle for a minute or two. Add in and chopped parsley and onion powder and stir well.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in the 1/2. each of mozz. and Parm. cheeses. The mozzarella will melt-- that's okay-- stir it vigorously to significantly break up and incorporate the spinach leaves.
3. Allow the concoction to cool to lukewarm (not hot enough to burn anymore), then add in the cottage (-0r- ricotta) cheese. Stir well. The spinach leaves should speckle the filling with green. Tast the cheese mixture and add in salt/pepper/more onion powder or cheese as needed.
4. Stir in the raw egg. Mix everything thoroghly; you don't want the egg to scramble (it definitely shouldn't be that hot anymore). The cheese filling should be a nice paste consistency and easily spreadable.
Assemble and Bake:
0. Preheat the oven to 380 F. Line a 9 x 12 baking dish or large cookie sheet with Al foil.
1. Starting with one flat, cooked lasagna noodle, smear about 2 tsp. of cheese filling evenly over the entire face, leaving a small space at one end. Start from the end with full filling and gently roll the lasagna noodle up-- don't press to hard, if done properly the filling won't squeeze obnoxiously out of the ends of the roll.
2. Place the 2" thick roll onto the Al lined baking dish, seam side down. The noodle should stick nicely to the foil and not unravel on you. Continue filling and rolling the noodles until they are all completed. Spread any remaining filling out over the tops of the rolls.
3. Spoon the tomato sauce evenly over the top of the noodles, then place them, uncovered, in the preheated over to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the ruffly, exposed edges of the noodle start to tan and the sauce is bubbly. Remove rolls from the oven and top with a generous amount of extra mozzarella cheese. Return the pan briefly to the oven to melt the cheese (around 2 to 3 minutes should do). Serve immediately with more veggies or favorite GF bread.


Elizabeth said...

I love lasagna rolls. There's just something so comforting about them, isn't there?

smash. said...

Yes, there is! They even make good finger food the next day.

You have a bunch of great pasta dishes over at your site. I'll have to try making spaghetti and meatballs someday.

Unknown said...

These freeze amazingly well! They're perfect to take a frozen servings and microwave--believe me, people get jealous when they smell how good it is!