It seems that fall may be on the way here, just in time for me to leave. Heading out this Friday for over two weeks of traveling and running three half marathons. If I can’t walk when I get home, you’ll know why.
Traditionally October is full of pumpkin delicacies prancing across the internet in overwhelming numbers, so I thought this year I’d start off with something a little less obvious. I saw this recipe on Pinterest (as usual) and thought it looked like a fantastic idea. Pre-portioned and easy to serve, it’s a great recipe for a family dinner as well as a potluck scenario. Even better, it can be prepared ahead and baked the next day to cut down on prep time for busy weeknights.
For my first attempt I followed the original recipe as written; although it was good, it was a bit too “skinny” tasting for our preferences. M requested at least “twice as much meat and probably four times the cheese” so I made some adjustments for my next round. With cheesy goodness abound it went over much better. If you’re looking for a bit healthier option, maybe you want to head over to the original linked below, but if you like gooey and cheesy you’re definitely in the right place. It’s easily made vegetarian by just not adding meat or by subbing zucchini or mushrooms or whatever you like.
Preparing them is a bit time-consuming but I expect not more so than regular lasagna and possibly less. Having never made lasagna from scratch I can’t actually confirm this, but it seems plausible. And the hassle you save serving it (especially to a crowd) is easily worth a few extra minutes of prep time.
Melty mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta meld with the spinach and meat for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Serve with a side salad and/or a vegetable for a well-rounded meal. Or don’t. I’m not your mother.
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Makes 12 roll-ups
12 lasagna noodles
12 oz ground or diced meat (optional; I used hot Italian sausage)
10 oz chopped spinach (see note)
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups + 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
32 oz spaghetti or other tomato sauce
- Pour about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.
- If using meat, sauté it with a little olive oil over medium heat until browned. You can add the garlic here too if you want.
- In a large bowl, mix spinach, ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 parmesan, egg, garlic, seasonings, and meat until well combined.
- Put several paper towels on the counter and gently lay cooked noodles on top. Gently pat the tops dry with an additional towel.
- Divide cheese mixture between noodles (about 3/4 cup per noodle) and gently spread it evenly across the entire noodle.
- Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of sauce on top of the cheese mixture.
- Gently roll up a noodle, not too tightly, and place seam-side down in the pan. The paper towel might stick a little but it pulled off easily with no reside for me. Repeat with remaining noodles.
- Pour remaining sauce over lasagna rolls and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Cover loosely with foil. (You can refrigerate it at this point if you want to bake it the next day.)
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour (no need to preheat the oven), removing foil for about the last 10 minutes so the cheese will brown a little.
- Let rest a few minutes, then serve hot.
1 I used frozen spinach both times. If you do, make sure it’s completely thawed and you squeeze as much water out as possible. Fresh spinach should also work fine so I will likely use that in the future. I also accidentally added 16 oz the second time and it was still yummy, although perhaps a bit more spinach-y than I personally prefer.