I typically don’t try new lasagna recipes. I figure, if I’m going to make lasagna, I’m going to use my mom’s recipe – it’s by far the yummiest (same situation with banana bread, banana pudding and pot roast, to name a few – but that’s another post.) But, last week I was having company (two good buddies and fellow opera singers, one of whom was a cook in a really nice restaurant in London for a couple of years), and I wanted to serve an impressive, yet “comforting” meal – and while my mom’s lasagna would have definitely fit the bill, I wanted something a little more unusual and slightly “different”. I flipped through all kinds of cook books, cooking websites, food blogs, and my personal favorite recipe resource – the Nest’s “What’s Cooking” discussion board (love ya, girls!!) and finally found myself thumbing through my “Giada’s Family Dinners” cookbook, pausing to glance at the Lasagna Rolls recipe thinking, “hmmm, spinach…prosciutto…bechamel, all rolled up in pasta….now that’s impressive and different…” I decided lasagna rolls would be perfect!
Needless to say, these were delicious – so delicious in fact, that I made them again only one week later! Its a nice change from your usual meat and cheese lasagna! My dinner guests really enjoyed them – they ate two huge helpings and cleaned their plates! Success!
-from Giada’s Family Meals by Giada DeLaurentiis
Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. 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 bechamel sauce.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamelsauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.