Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe: Lasagna Roll-Ups

Like the good Italian girl I am (what, like you haven't noticed my incredible hair olive-toned arms?), I LOVE pasta. Penne or fettuccine, cream sauce or tomato, with meat or with vegetables - doesn't matter. I am always in the mood for pasta. It's in my blood. When we went to Italy, all my sister wanted from the trip was to walk into a restaurant and have them bring us food until we could eat no more (hint: check out Acqua al due if you're ever in Florence, and get the "assagio" - sampler). And my mother ... well, she doesn't cook much, but she makes the most wonderful lasagna ever. It's my great grandfather's recipe and she only ever makes it on New Year's Day - pans and pans of it, for anyone who wants to come, eat, and enjoy. I've only taken on this recipe once or twice, because it is quite the undertaking, and it takes two people a very long time to eat a whole pan of lasagna, so I was thrilled with this recipe. The best part of it is that you can make as much or as little as you want! Just keep in mind that this recipe makes 8 roll-ups, which was enough for a dinner and a lunch for both of us.
  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup (approx) of tomato sauce*
*The original recipe didn't call for tomato sauce, but I feel like it would've been very dry without it. This is especially good for reheating!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large pot of boiling water over high heat and salt generously.
  3. When it reaches a rolling boil, boil the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box. What's that- there's no directions? Yeah, I had the same problem. For 8 noodles, 10 minutes seemed to work. You'll want them to cook to the point of al dente, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Drain the noodles whenever the appear to be maleable.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.
  6. Add garlic and onion, and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add turkey and cook until almost completely brown.
  8. Add tomatoes, 1/2 the basil, oregano & crushed red pepper flakes, and reduce heat to medium low.  If you don't like spicy, be very cautious with the red pepper - a little bit goes a long way! If you want to add sauce, this is the time to do it. Then, simmer for about 15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile (now you're multi-tasking!), beat egg in a small bowl.
  10. Add ricotta, parmesan and remaining basil & oregano, mixing all ingredients together well.
  11. Spray a glass pan with cooking spray (I used an 11x7 baking dish).
  12. Add enough of the meat mixture to lightly cover the bottom of the pain.
  13. To assemble a roll, place one generous spoonful of ricotta mixture and an even-more-generous spoonful of meat mixture on top of a drained noodle.
  14. Roll up, and place seem side down in pan. Repeat 7 more times, or however many noodles you have.
  15. Top the rolls with the remaining meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and remaining crushed red pepper.
  16. Bake 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  17. Serve with some yummy, buttery garlic bread (OK, fine, this part is optional, too. But who doesn't like garlic bread?!)

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