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Lasagna With A Twist

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    Posted: 26 February 2013 at 11:55

It’s always nice, presentation wise, when you can take a comfort food and turn it into something a little more elegant. So it is with these lasagna roll-ups.

All we’re going to do is take the same ingredients used in everyday lasagna, and give them a twist. This not only makes a prettier presentation, it provides automatic portion control as a small plate.

I recently made these for a friends bridge group, and you wouldn’t believe the raves. You’d think, from the comments, I had served the ultimate in haute cuisine, when, in fact, it was just plain old lasagna.

Making them is more a matter of procedure than precise recipe. What you’re going to do is spread the ingredients on individual lasagna noodles, and then roll them instead of layering them.

In my case I used five layers: ricotta, meat sauce, shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, and chopped pepperoni. But you can use as many ingredients as you care for.

For planning purposes, 12 of these roll-ups will fit comfortably in a 9 ½ x 13 baking pan.

Here’s how to make them.

Cook the lasagna noodles as per package directions. Drain well and dry each of them with paper towels. Lay them out, in a single layer, on wax paper or parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other. Tip: No matter how careful you are, you always get some broken or torn noodles. So make extra.

Prepare your favorite sauce. In my case we used a tomato-based meat sauce using both beef and pork. Included, of course, are sautéed onion and garlic. And I threw in some chopped mushrooms as well, cuz I had to use them up. All ingredients should be chopped small, so they don’t form lumps in the finished product.

Mix ricotta with some chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a beaten egg. Grate or shred the cheeses. Chop the pepperoni.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. This will prevent the roll-ups from sticking.

Lay a lasagna noodle on your work surface. Spread with a thin layer of the ricotta mixture. You can go edge-to-edge with this, but leave at least an inch of noodle at the far end.

Next, spoon a line of sauce down the center of the noodle, and flatten it with the back of the spoon. Leave space on the edges, because as you roll it the ingredients will squeeze outwards.

Top the sauce with some grated mozzarella, sprinkle with the parmesan, and finish with some of the pepperoni.

Carefully roll the layered noodle. Don’t do this too tightly, or the fillings will just ooze out of the sides. Place the completed roll, seam-side down, in the baking pan. Continue with the balance of the noodles.

Pour sauce over the tops of the rolls. Most of it will ooze down, but that’s ok. Sprinkle the surface with additional mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil.

Bake at 375F until the cheeses melt and the sauce is bubbly, about a half hour or so.

Serve one roll-up per person as a first course, or, with a salad, as a light luncheon.

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