Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna is my go-to choice at any Italian restaurant for its guaranteed deliciousness.  I mean, if you can’t make decent lasagna at an Italian restaurant we have a serious problem!  I just found out last week that the kiddos liked lasagna and wanted to find a kid-friendly recipe version of the real thing.  This recipe is NOT just for kiddos.  It still has all the great ingredients that adults at a dinner party would love, it is just assembled in a fun-get-your-hands-dirty kind of way that the kiddos and I both love.

Disclaimer:  I was a little nervous of the long ingredient list that included freshly grated cheeses and freshly chopped parsley, onion, and garlic, but since I don’t have the time or patience for that we instead used shredded cheeses and store-bought pre-cut parsley, onion, and garlic and it still tasted ah-mazing (even the next day as leftovers)!  Also, please excuse the pictures as they were from the next day leftovers and were taken with my iPhone!

Ingredients:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15 oz container Ricotta Cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 1/4 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded or grated
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded or grated
1/3 cup Romano Cheese, shredded or grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large frying pan, drizzle one tablespoon olive oil and heat ground beef/turkey over medium high heat.  Add chopped onions and cook the mixture until browned, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat.  Drain the fat and pour the mixture into a food processor, pulse for 5-10 seconds, and return to the frying pan (No food processor?  Use a large knife to cut up the meat).  Add crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, oregano, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste, stir, and cover with a lid to simmer over low heat while you prepare the pasta and cheese mixture.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil with 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Cook noodles according to the package directions until al dente, drain, and immediately line noodles in a single layer on waxed paper or cookie sheets.

While pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture by stirring together with a fork the Ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until well combined.  Stir in chopped parsley, 1 3/4 cup Mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/3 cup Romano.

Stir meat sauce and spread 1/3 cup evenly into the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish.  Prepare the roll-ups by evenly spreading 1/4 cup cheese mixture onto each cooked lasagna noodle followed by 1 tablespoon of meat sauce, roll the noodles up, and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Cover the rolled noodles with the remaining meat sauce, 1/2 cup Mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Cover the dish with tented aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes, makes 12 servings.

**Recipe Source:  Cooking Classy**

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