I know what you're thinking: Mandy, this is your 5th Italian recipe in a row. What's the deal!?
It's true, but I cook by craving. Whatever I'm craving when I make that dang grocery list is what I'm feeding my family that week. Plus, Italian food is by far my favorite (Mexican food being a close second).
You've probably seen this recipe flying all over Pinterest like the dang monkeys on Wizard of Oz. It's everywhere. But has anyone actually tried it yet? I wanted to put it to the test.
I had this meal planned for Sunday, but Ryan insisted on something simple for Father's Day. I didn't mind one bit.
Originally, this recipe was "Spinach Lasagna Roll Up." We've given spinach more than enough chances at our house, and quite frankly... we just don't like the taste. Sure, I'll have it in the raw on a sandwich or burger. But cooked? We honestly tried, but it just never stuck. So what did I do to make this a blondie dish? I axed the spinach and added some delicious, spicy Italian sausage. (I saved about a half cup for tonight's omelets - we have waaay too many eggs lying around).
Now, I just want to come clean. These pictures are of the lasagna roll-ups before they made their journey in the oven. They just looked prettier, alright? However, this doesn't mean that they didn't look/taste like a beast when they came out of the oven. It was insane, people. Ryan wants me to make lasagna like this from now on, and wouldn't mind if I ditched using the "canned" or "packaged" marinara sauce as well. *Sigh*... if time would only allow such kitchen glamor on a daily basis.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the ricotta mixture is very VERY similar to my own. I made a few tweaks, and the recipe below is with my additions/subtractions. What a crazy-fun way to change up lasagna! I can't believe I hadn't tried this before. Plus, it helps with portions - instead of cutting giant lasagna squares, we just had a roll or two each, and that was just enough (hello yummy leftovers).
Italian Sausage Lasagna Roll Ups
1 lb mild/medium Italian Sausage (I do mild, then add in pepper flakes to my heat preference)
1 lb lasagna noodles
15 oz ricotta
1 C shredded mozzarella
1/4 C grated Parmesan
3 T fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
1 t garlic powder
1 large egg
2.5 C marinara sauce (my homemade recipe here, if needed)
salt and pepper, to taste
bit of EVOO
Bring a large pot of water with a dash of salt to a boil (I always add in a teeny bit of olive oil). Add lasagna noodles and cool until al dente (not soggy, still a bit firm, but can bend easily) about 15 minutes. When they're finished, drain. Don't rinse. Ever.
In a frying pan, thoroughly cook Italian Sausage, and drain from juices. Simmer on low until filling and noodles are ready to assemble.
While the noodles are boiling, prepare the filling. Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan (reserving a little for sprinkling), egg, salt and pepper, fresh parsley and garlic powder.
Get out your 9x13 dish, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a little non-stick spray, or anything else you use to keep things from sticking (butter, EVOO) on your pan.
On a clean surface (I just used my giant clean cutting board), lay out a few noodles at a time. With your clean hands (much easier than with a spoon, trust me. Paula Deen would be so proud) spread out a few tablespoons of filling on each noodle to the edges, and sprinkle on a bit of Italian sausage. Not too thick, though. Roll the noodles up and place in prepared dish. Repeat until all the filling is gone. Pour maranara sauce over rolled noodles, making sure to cover all surfaces. The sauce will hydrate the noodles, and continue cooking them in the oven. Sprinkle with reserved cheeses.
Cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
*This recipe would go well with a beautiful side salad and bread sticks.
recipe adapted from Budget Bytes
linking up here.