Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spinach and Green Pepper Lasagna Roll-Ups

Little individual servings of vegetarian lasagna. These are fun to make and also easy to package up as individual re-heatable servings for lunches and dinners on subsequent evenings. You can put pretty much any vegetable you'd like into your cheese mixture on the inside; I sometimes like to put mushrooms in there, but didn't have any on hand when I made this batch. 

Total Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Total Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

What you will need:

1 box of lasagne noodles
1 tall container of part skim ricotta cheese
1 bag of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 bag of fresh baby spinach (you can use frozen spinach, thawed as well if you prefer but I like fresh ingredients)
1 bell pepper of any color (mine is supposed to be green but it's an organic pepper so it's more yellow)
2 tbsps minced garlic
2 tbsps pesto
1 egg
pasta sauce of your choice
Olive oil
Parchment paper

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Set a pot of water to boil, pour in some olive oil so that your noodles won't stick, and boil your lasagne noodles according to the instructions on the package. You can and you should start working on your  filling while the noodles are cooking, but make sure you keep an eye on them. Drain your noodles in the sink and let them cool in the colander while you finish up whatever prep you may have on the rest of the filling.

Dice your green pepper into small pieces.

In a large bowl, dump the entire large container of ricotta cheese, three ounces of shredded mozzarella, the egg, pesto, garlic and bell pepper. 

I typically mix all of this together before slowly adding in 1/2 of the bag of baby spinach and mixing well to make sure the baby spinach is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Set the mixture aside. Lay out as much parchment paper as your counterspace will tolerate. On the parchment paper, lay your lasagne noodles, like so:

Spoon a thin layer of your ricotta mixture down the length of each of your noodles.

Now here comes the fun part: start rolling! Start from the far side and roll towards you. You want the rolls to be fairly compact, but not so tight that they are practically pinwheels. They should just feel secure. You'll know it when you feel it.

Once you complete all of your rolls (there should be enough ricotta for all of your lasagne noodles, or close to all of them at least), then place them in one or two large glass baking dishes. I find that it typically takes two large glass baking dishes to fit them comfortably. You don't want to crowd them! They need their personal space.

Pour some pasta sauce over the roll-ups, and then spread mozzarella over the sauce.

Bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the cheese should be nice and melty. Turn on the broiler for a few minutes and stand there watching it like a hawk. The cheese should begin to bubble and brown a bit. Pull it out immediately. Serve, and enjoy!

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