Easy Lasagna Roll-Ups...a New Twist on an Old Favorite

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Easy Lasagna Roll-Ups...a New Twist on an Old Favorite

Sometimes, I just get in the mood to cook something new and sometimes, my daughter decides we should try something new (which happens more often than not).  Monday was one of those days:o)  She was wanting to try her hand at manicotti and wanted to surprise Daddy with it. She knows how much  he loves Italian food!
However, as is so often the case, we didn't have all the ingredients-- manicotti noodles in particular. So we decided to improvise.  We followed the recipe for Baked Ziti with Ricotta filling, but used lasanga noodles instead. Other than one mistake, which we rectified later, it turned out great!

  Here's how we made 'lasagna roll-ups'

  First we got out the ricotta cheese, noodles and our spices and other ingredients...

Then we started the lasagna noodles boiling in a big pot of salted water.

After that we got  the sauce simmering. I added cooked ground beef even though the recipe doesn't call for it, because the males at our house prefer it that way. :o) 

In a about 8 minutes the noodles were cooked through so I scooped them out with a pasta ladle and laid them out crisscross on some parchment paper. I'm still trying to discover the world's best method for keeping the noodles from sticking together--today I thought I'd get artistic. Actually, this method took up less counter space.

Then we lightly whipped the two eggs that needed to be added to the ricotta cheese.

The next step was to mix all of the ingredients for the ricotta cheese filling.
You just add the whipped eggs to the rest of the ingredients and stir them up into a paste. It will be thick. I used grated mozzarella rather than cubed.

Now for the fun part, we covered the counter with parchment paper and laid out about three noodles at a time and carefully patted the ricotta cheese mixture onto the noodles. 

Then we poured a layer of sauce in the bottom of the 8 x 11 casserole dish.

Then we rolled them up like jelly rolls.  Here's where I made my only mistake.  What I should have done was cut each roll in half and sat the cut ends down in a layer of sauce in a casserole dish with the frilly edges up. That way, when you pour the sauce on top, some of it will dribble into the rolls.  (Of course, lots of people like them fine sideways.)

Because we didn't do this the first time, they were a little bit bland in the middle (according to the boys). Tim, Rebekah, and I thought they tasted great because we like the cheese filling. 

But the second time around, I did it the other way and I do think it was much better.  

We also topped the whole thing with sprinkled mozzarella cheese! Yummy!

After all of that cooking, we decided to keep the sides simple. Rebekah cooked roasted green beans in the oven, and I steamed some corn.  It was a great dish to come home too after babysitting August the other day!  For variation you could add a cup of fresh spinach to your ricotta cheese mixture. If I had had it on hand, I would have for sure!

Here's the recipe we altered
from The Splendid Table website

Baked Ziti with Ricotta

This recipe is from their Splendid Cheap Eats collection of affordable recipes. Browse the collection.

From "Minnie's Kitchen" by Minnie Giraldi  Serves 6  This rich casserole has the flavors of lasagna without the work. It's perfect for a Sunday dinner.

Marinara Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, ground in a food processor or blender
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper 
  • (We added 1/2 pound cooked ground beef.)
Baked Ziti:
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed  (we used grated cheese)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ziti pasta  (we substituted lasagna noodles)
1. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Set the sauce aside.
2. Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, and eggs in a large bowl and set this mixture aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt to taste and the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with a little sauce.
4. Place a layer of sauced pasta in a large casserole dish. Dot the pasta with small bits of the cheese mixture and then spoon some tomato sauce over the cheese. Repeat this process two more times to make 3 layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let the pasta casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Minnie's Secret: If possible, use a thick homemade ricotta that you can buy at an Italian market. Supermarket ricotta is not nearly as creamy and tasty.

Happy Homemaking!


Annie Jones said...

Looks delish!

I've found that if you spread the ricotta filling over just 2/3 of the length of the noodles, then start rolling from the end WITH the filling, they roll up nicely without filling gushing out when you get to the end. This one little tip has caused me to make lasagna rolls much more often.

Rae said...

Thanks for the recipe...looks yummy. I will make this when the kids come down.
I talked all about you today on my post.....

Jill said...

oh yummy! now i'm really hungry for dinner lol
Have a great weekend!!

Donna said...

Great idea Annie! Thanks for the advice. It was my first time to do this. They were kind of fun to make and looked very nice.

Breathing In Grace said...

I'm on a special diet right now that won't allow me to have anything like this....and my tummy is doing flip flops just looking at the pics!! YUMMY!!! That looks so good!!! By the way...we have the same Corning Wear Pattern...Indian Summer. I've never grown tired of it after all these years!!!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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