I absolutely love Giada De Laurentiis. She makes these lasagna rolls, and as she says, it’s “a simple “twist” for making lasagna. Instead of making one lasagna, you make single serving lasagna rolls. This dish would be great to serve at a dinner party!
I made some changes to Giada’s original recipe – I am not particularly fond of ricotta cheese, so I used half the container. Instead of prosciutto, I used vegetarian Italian sausage and also added mushrooms to the mixture. Also, I didn’t make my own marinara sauce, maybe next time. But using some tips I’ve learned from Rachel Ray along the way, I used bottled tomato sauce and made it my own. I also usually use a little more olive oil because with vegetarian cooking, there isn’t the fat from the chicken or meat, so a little more oil gives your cooking a lot more flavor. This recipe could easily be vegan leaving out the ricotta and using vegetarian cheese for the topping!
Lasagna Rolls (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach (can also use fresh spinach)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 box Morning Star Italian Sausage, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinammon
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
5-7 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I used the Ina Garten method)
1 bottle tomato sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock/broth
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
Lasagna Noodles: Put noodles into a big bowl, (I put them into the 13 x 9 pan I was going to use for the lasagna rolls, so they would lay flat), and pour boiling water over the noodles. Leave them until ready to use. This causes them to become soft enough to roll but they are not fully cooked. They finish cooking in the oven.
To make the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. whisk in the milk. increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt into the bechamel sauce.
In a pot on medium heat, put the oil and the vegetarian Italian sausage. Stir until sausage turns a nice golden brown color. Add the mushrooms and stir them in with the sausage for about two minutes. Add the drained spinach, salt, nutmeg and the cinnamon. Mix everything together and cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the ricotta cheese and egg.
In a saucepan, on medium-heat, add some olive oil and the jar of tomato sauce and the fresh tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the vegetable stock, lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish (I used a disposable pan, makes cleanup much easier). Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread enough of the ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes.