I love Lasagna. I think it’s a perfect dish in so many ways. It’s cheesy, tomato-y, smoky, and whatever other flavors you want to put into it.
What it’s not is neat.
I hate that the normal way to serve lasagna involves dropping it on a plate in a messy spill of stuffing and noodles that in no way resembles the attractive square piece with pretty layers you imagined you would be served. Now, does presentation affect taste? Nope. Not even a little bit. But it matters anyway.
Giada first introduced me to the idea of rolling your lasagna instead of laying it out in the usual way, and I’ve taken her idea and used it with my own recipe.
(Not my usual sort of picture, but it’s the only one I have. Making lasagna is a little too messy to take pictures while I’m doing it. Dirty hands, you know.)
I think it takes a little longer to make lasagna rolls instead of normal lasagna, it’s just a little more fiddly, but in my opinion the end results are well worth the effort.
The recipe below is for mostly vegetarian lasagna. I don’t like to put meat in my lasagna, but the sauce is made with sausage. As always, you can add or subtract various meats and vegetables to make it to your taste.
Some sort of Tomato Sauce – I use Grandmom’s Spaghetti Sauce
1 box lasagna noodles, cooked
1 lb part-skim ricotta cheese
2 bags (4 cups) part-skim shredded mozzarella (you can also shred your own)
1 bag fresh baby spinach (or 1 box frozen, thawed and drained)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles as directed. When cooked lay them out or hang them so they don’t stick together. A small amount of olive oil may be added to the cooking water to help prevent sticking. (I cook only 4 or 5 noodles at a time so I can make the rolls while the next batch cooks. It’s a little longer, but ultimately less hassle.)
2. In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese and eggs. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add salt, pepper, and fresh ground nutmeg to taste. Add 3 cups of grated mozzarella and mix in well. (If you’re using frozen spinach, mix in here as well. Fresh spinach is in the next step.)
3. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat on a cutting board or other clean surface and spread 1-2 tablespoons of cheese mixture over the length of the noodle, leaving 1 inch free of cheese at one end. Cover cheese with fresh spinach leaves (or other vegetables) and carefully roll from the cheesy end to the empty end. (Cheese will compress slightly and fill in the gap.)
4. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking dish or casserole dish and gently place lasagna rolls seam-side down in the sauce. They can be tucked in pretty tightly against one another. Use remaining tomato sauce to fill in gaps between pieces of pasta and the sides of the dish. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
5. Bake at 375 for about 2 hours, or until sauce bubbles. Serve and enjoy!