Lasagna roll-ups are so easy to make, and they look downright classy on the plate. This recipe makes 10 individual portions, so it’s the perfect entree for a large family or small guest party. Start off with a tossed salad, and accompany the roll-ups with steamed asparagus and garlic bread for a satisfying meal.
As a bonus, this dish may be assembled in advance. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then pop into the oven when you’re ready. You will need about 15 minutes additional baking time to be sure the centers are heated through.
I used my own homemade marinara sauce and added some fresh chopped tomatoes for added zing.
Lasagna Roll-Ups Recipe
10 lasagna noodles (about 1/2 pound), cooked al dente, rinsed and cooled
1 pound ground beef (preferably ground chuck)
1 cup diced sweet onions
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional
6 ounces fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the shelf-stable stuff)
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon dried oregano, crushed between your palms
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought, plus optional extra on the side
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Place a deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground chuck, plus salt and pepper to taste. Saute, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through. Drain any excess grease. Add the pressed garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the baby spinach until wilted. (It may seem like a lot of spinach, but it wilts down to almost nothing.) Let cool.
Whisk together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper until combined. (Taste to be sure you have enough salt. Ricotta cheese is quite bland and the pasta will absorb some salt.) Stir in cooled ground beef mixture.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Spread half of the marinare sauce over the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch glass or ceramic casserole dish.
Spread the meat mixture up the centers of each lasagna noodle, leaving a 1/2-inch space along the long edges. Roll up each lasagna noodle and place in the casserole dish with the short cut edge down.
Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake 30 minutes, until mozzarella is melted and lasagna rolls are cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to garnish and optional additional marinara sauce on the side.
Lasagna roll-ups are great served with steamed asparagus and garlic bread on the side.
Yield: 10 servings
• Use ground chuck if you possibly can. It has a richer, beefier flavor.
• To punch up the flavor even more, substitute bulk Italian sausage (or links with the casings removed) for the ground beef. Cooked, shredded chicken may also be substituted, in which case you’ll need to saute the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil by themselves before cooling and adding to the cheese mix.
• The smallest container of ricotta available in my market was 15 ounces. You can freeze the excess in a zip-top bag for later use.
• Regular fresh spinach may be used. Tear the leaves in half.