Category Archives: ricotta

Lasagna Rolls

I like this fun way of serving lasagna.  My kids loved having their own individual rolls of goodness. This recipe was taken from “Giada’s Family Dinners” by Giada De Laurentis.  The recipe calls for 3 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto. I always order from my deli in grams, so I converted from ounces to grams and it works out to 85 grams.  The recipe asks to be sure to squeeze the spinach totally dry in order to avoid a watery dish.  The ” Quick Marinara Sauce” recipe is also on this blog.

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

1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 dried lasagna noodles
Butter, for baking dish
2 cups “Quick Marinara Sauce”
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking continuously.  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 cream sauce.

To make the lasagna:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, egg, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper until blended.
2. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the lasagna noodles and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.  Spread the cream sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.
4. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Roll the noodles up and arrange the rolls, seam sides down and not touching one another, atop the cream sauce.  Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.  Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the lasagna rooms, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Cover the dish tightly with foil.  Bake until the rolls are heated through and sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the cheese on top is golden, about 15 minutes longer.  Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat and serve alongside.

Makes: 6 Main-course servings

Manicotti with Sweet Peas

Love this! The recipe is taken from “The Italian Way – Cooking with the De Lucas”. I used a food processor to finely chop the onions and to puree the tomatoes. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make parts of it ahead of time.

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
4-5 basil leaves, torn in small pieces
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, pureed in a food mill
1 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh lasagna noodles cut in half (to 6 inches long) or 12 dry manicotti shells

1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute about 20 seconds.  Set aside half of the onion mixture to use in the filling.  To the remaining mixture, add the marjoram, or oregano, basil, and tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a skillet, cook the sweet peas with the reserved onion mixture for 4-5 minutes or until peas are tender.  Remove from heat and allow peas to cool (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish). In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, cooled peas, egg, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F.  In a large pot over high heat, bring water to a boil.  Cook fresh lasagna noodles 1 minute, or cook dry pasta according to package direction.  Drain and cool completely in cold water.  Drain again then lay cooked noodles on a clean kitchen towel to dry.  Spoon the filling, about 2 tablespoons, along the short end of each noodle and roll up. (If using manicotti shells, pipe the filling into the cooked shells).  Place half the sauce in a 9×13-inch baking dish and arrange the manicotti in a single layer, seam side down.  Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Uncover and broil for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, let stand 5 minutes, and garnish with reserved peas.