Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Recipe | Spinach + Ham Lasagna Roll-Ups

I came across this recipe much the way I come across most of my new recipes, I'm hit with a sudden craving and have to have it.  I'm not a big lasagna fan so I don't know why the sudden need to eat lasagna roll ups, but they just sounded so good.  A friend (Hi Kendra!) made them for us after I had Charlie (almost 7 years ago!!) and I hadn't eaten them since, but they seem like a lighter version of traditional lasagna and I think that's why they work for me.  This recipe is a little fussy in the sense it leaves you with a sink full of dirty dishes but the good news is that it makes a ton and is perfect for left overs or the freezer.  I'm willing to do a little extra effort for weeknight cooking if I know it gets me through two days worth.  I've made a couple adjustments to the original recipe to suit our taste.  I made this recipe early in the day while the boys were in school and covered it with foil until an hour before dinner.  Is there a better feeling than knowing dinner is completely taken care of by the time you pick up your kids and you can just relax and talk about their days and help with homework?  I think not!  Enjoy this one, it's a keeper!! (you can easily omit the ham and make it vegetarian)

Recipe | Spinach and Ham Lasagna Roll Ups
(adapted from Food Network)

2 TBS butter
4 tsp flour
1 1/4 cup 2% milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup thawed, frozen chopped spinach
1 cup + 2 TBS grated Parmesan
3 oz deli smoked ham, chopped
1 large egg
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBS olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 jar (2 cups) marinara sauce (I like Trader Joes)
1 cup shredded mozzarella


To make the sauce: Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the flour and whisk until it is cooked (smells nutty), about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the milk, keep whisking until smooth and fully combined.  Continue to whisk as it comes to a simmer.  Keep whisking until sauce is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450.

With a wooden spoon combine the ricotta, spinach, ham, 1 cup of Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add 2 TBS of olive oil to a large pot of boiling water.  Boil noodles for 7 minutes until just tender but still firm.  Drain.  Arrange noodles in a single layer on parchment sheets to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish.  Pour b├ęchamel sauce over the booting of the prepared dish. Spoon 3 TBS of filling on each noodle, leaving an inch or so at each end without the filling, then roll them up like a jelly roll.  Lay the noodles seam side down in the baking dish.  Cover the noodles with marinara sauce, mozzarella and last 2 TBS of Parmesan cheese.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate until time to cook if you are making it in advance, or place it in the over for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread (and a salad if you're feeling ambitious! ;))

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