Friday, 13 June 2014

Lasagna Roll Ups 2 Ways

In my last post, I shared my favourite lasagna recipe. It was from a Better Homes & Garden recipe book circa 1950's-ish. I mentioned that this was my go to recipe. While poking around on Pinterest, I came across the idea of deconstructing the traditional lasagna and rolling it up. Some recipe authors suggested that it takes less time, but in the end, I discovered there is very little time saved, except for 15 minutes of standing time. That being said, it is a lovely presentation and a refreshing change from the typical squares of lasagna, plus these rolls make portion control easier!

I knew last week that I wanted to do a post on the vegetarian lasagna rolls that I made, but because I made my lasagna rolls were made from some odd and ends in my freezer, I wanted my readers to have both a meat option and a vegetarian option. Hence the reason for posting my Mom's Lasagna recipe first!

I had almost 2 cups of my vegan Bolegnese sauce in the freezer, of course in a 500 ml mason jar. (BTW, this sauce freezes beautifully too.) This was the "meat" filling in my lasagna rolls. Unfortunately, I did not have enough Bolognese sauce to ladle under and over the lasagna rolls before baking, so I needed on additional sauce. Fortunately, I also had about 3 cups of my marinara sauce in the freezer.  Since my marinara sauce is also flavoured with similar herbs as the Bolognese sauce, it would pair nicely.

I thawed both sauces (over night in the refrigerator) and brought them to a simmer in order to make sure that there was no excess liquids in the sauces, about 20 minutes or so did the trick. Since I wanted the marinara sauce to be fairly thick, I added 4 teaspoons of chia seeds so soak up an extra liquids - shhhhh "hidden healthy"!

Cook 8 lasagna noodles as per package directions – I used whole wheat.

I then mixed together
2 1/2 cups cottage cheese (about 3/4 of a standard container)
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped (fresh if you have it, but dried works just fine)
Several grinds of pepper

I grated a 3 inch piece of Mozzarella cheese (from an 460 gram bar)

Take 9x13" baking pan and ladle enough marinara sauce onto the bottom. My pictures show and 8x8", which only fit 6 rolls. I had to use an small one for the extra 2 rolls. Oops! Learning curve alert... 

Following my tried and true rhyme, with the crazy beat and a dance if you like --> Noodles, Cheese, Mozzarella, Meat ...

and then roll up and place the roll in the baking dish, seam side down.

Continue until all 8 rolls are done.  

Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls so they don't dry out while baking.  

I covered with foil and baked at 375° F for 25-30 minutes. If you make ahead and take out of the refrigerator, I would probably bake it for an additional 15 minutes to make sure everything is cooked through. You should see the sauce bubbling.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes or so, while you get any side dishes finished off.

As you can see my first run through with lasagna rolls was essentially made with leftovers from my freezer.  If you don't have these leftovers available, I would recommend using my favourite meatless Bolognese recipe from the blog for the filling and the topping if you want a vegetarian version. I would add 1 more heaped teaspoon of dried basil to the sauce though if you don't have any fresh. If you want a meat filling (all meat or lightened up with the green lentils and mushrooms) I highly recommend the meat filling from my Mom's Lasagna. For either recipe, I would be happy to answer any questions about measurements or techniques.

Feel free to freeze any extra sauce in a mason jar or two. Don't forget to leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Save the extra sauce for lasagna rolls for 2 or add to your favourite pasta for a quick meal. I have a sneaky suspicion that the full recipes for either sauce will end up leaving you with quite a bit of leftovers. Waste not want not!   
PS. If you use the Bolognese recipe, you will see that it calls for 120 grams of the extra firm tofu, which is about half a brick for the brands that I buy in my grocery store (these are 350 gram bars). As this is the case, I always double the recipe, freeze the extras so that I can have almost ready meals when I'm pressed for time.  Who needs takeout?

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