Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Ups

Some recipes come entirely out of necessity. About a month ago I made a fresh batch of Spinach & Ricotta ravioli, (recipe coming soon!) and as I started to fill the raviolis I realized that I would have a large quantity of filling left over. I had two choices, to make another batch of ravioli dough sometime in the near future or find another use for the filling. As my weekends booked up, and the filling sat taking up too much real estate in my freezer, it became clear that I would not have the time it would take to make more dough. I pondered about using it to stuff a chicken, or making rice balls, but I didn’t want to damage the integrity of the filling. That’s when Pinterest saved the day. All those hours of absentmindedly pinning lasagna roll-up variations made a light bulb go off in my brain. I could offer the same comfort and depth of flavor as a baked pasta without sacrificing an entire day for preparation.

The spinach & ricotta filling here is the real shining star, it is not bland and mundane like other similar pasta fillers, but packed with flavor and the roll-ups really showcase the delicious flavors without letting the pasta overshadow them.

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Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Ups
Source: Filling: Granny Rose + Roll-up Idea: Kale, Mushroom & Sun-Dried Tomato Lasagna Roll-Ups, Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Roll-U ps, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Roll-Ups

Ingredients

  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 packages chopped frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese + additional for sprinkling
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley (I used 1 Tbsp. dried + 1 Tbsp. fresh)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 egg
  • ~ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, or more as needed
  • Lasagna Noodles
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Shaved Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a large skillet and sauté onions until they are tender and translucent before adding in the minced garlic. When garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add in the chopped spinach and cook until the greens are tender and the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt & pepper before cooling completely.
  2. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley, nutmeg and sautéed spinach mixture together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper before stirring in the eggs. Incorporate breadcrumbs evenly as needed until the mixture is no longer wet and holds together. The mixture should be firm, but not dry. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions before draining and rinsing with cold water to keep the noodles from overcooking. Line work area with sheets of foil and lay the noodles flat to dry. Coat the bottom of a glass baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
  4. Spread the ricotta & spinach mixture, leaving a small strip at the ends of each noodle. Roll loosely into a stable spiral shape. Line the roll-ups in the baking dish and top with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until sauce is bubbling and the edges of the noodles have browned.

Notes:

When using ricotta cheese, I always prefer to drain it for as long as I can before use. The result is infinitely more creamy and keeps baked pastas from becoming watery. Simply spoon the ricotta into a small colander lined with a basket coffee filter or even a double layer of paper towels and place over a small bowl. You can do this up to 24 hours, and even overnight in the fridge if covered with plastic wrap.

I like to top the lasagna roll-up with both grated and shaved Parmesan cheese, in many stores the shaved Parmesan is called a “salad blend.”

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