Lasagna Rolls...

These will make your butt big!  I'm just putting that out there now so we don't have a problem later.  These are a fabulous special dinner.  I always make this when someone in the neighborhood has a baby or surgery and they need a meal to help them get going again.  It is always a hit, thank you Giada!  This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, I think the heavens parted and gave her inspiration because it is pretty, not too technical, and it makes you look like a domestic goddess when you take it to someone (and don't we all need a moment like that every now and then?).  Plus, it is really tasty.

Aren't women awesome?  We do stuff like take in meals for each other just because we can.  Women rock!  When I had my babies, there was always someone that was sweet enough to think of how hard it is to care for a new baby and make dinner too.  Bless those people that helped me.  I was on my own with my first baby, no mom or mom-in-law to help, no family to pitch in, and a hubby that went to work the very next day.  I had never even changed a diaper and there I was with this wiggly little human, just me and him.  I was so thankful for someone who not only made me dinner, but took a minute to talk to me and make me feel human again instead of this frazzled, sleep-deprived, crazy person who I had never met until I had a baby.

Now that we have established the superiority of women, let's move on to dinner (men, I love you too, you have superiority in other ways):

The filling for the lasagna rolls can be made the day before, in fact, it is better if you do it in advance.  The flavors get better with time.  I double the filling because I like the rolls stuffed to the brim.  When I cook the noodles, I run them in cold water when I drain them and then lay them out on a baking sheet.  I spray each noodle lightly with cooking spray so they don't stick.  Don't worry if you get a few splits in your noodles, this problem will resolve itself when you roll them.  If you are short on time a bottle of marinara will help you greatly (I figure I made béchamel, why make marinara too?).

I usually take this to someone with a beautiful salad and something light for dessert like a white cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

Domestic Goddess.  Easy-peesy!

Giada De Laurentiis

Béchamel Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread a large spoonful (about 3 tablespoons worth) of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.


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