When we were back-to-school shopping in Harlingen last week, the teen got to choose where we would eat an early dinner (because Mom was about to fall out from exhaustion) and he chose Olive Garden. I gotta say, I just love their pasta fagioli soup, salad, and bread sticks...but beyond that, I'm not a huge fan. They feel overpriced for things I know I can create in my own kitchen as well, if not better.
If you have read my blog before, you know I have a picky, picky AS teen eater. He usually orders lasagna or spaghetti with meatballs. Shockingly, he ordered Lasagna Rollata al Forno...which ended up being, obviously, lasagna roll-ups. What was disappointing was the pasta was hard on the outside and, frankly, didn't look very appealing sitting in its puddle of very light 5-cheese marinara sauce. He basically ate the insides of the dish and left everything else, filling up on bread sticks.
I told him he should try it again...Mamma Mia style! So, tonight, he comes wandering out of his man cave saying "I smell something good"....and I told him it was the Lasagna Roll-ups for dinner tonight. He peaked in all the pans and smiled big. I think he'll like it!
LASAGNA ROLL-UPS ala MAMMA MIA
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1/4 chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
3/4 jar Bertolli Tomato and Basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
6 pieces of whole grain lasagna
1/2 recipe homemade ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup dried Italian seasoning
Pinch of black pepper
Big pinch of kosher salt
1 cup shredded Asiago
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
In a saucepan, crumble and brown the ground sirloin and the chopped onion. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder.
|ground beef and softened onions - almost ready|
While that is browning, put a pot of water on to boil over medium high heat, salt well when boiling.
Add the 6 pieces of dried lasagna and gently work down into the water - boil for 10 minutes (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest - use whatever time your brand suggests).
|lasagna gently simmering|
While that is boiling, add pasta sauce to meat and the fresh basil. When it comes to a low simmer - add cream and put on low to just keep warm.
|pasta sauce - adding the cream|
|yum - I could eat this all by itself!|
In a separate bowl, mix homemade ricotta cheese, 1 cup of Asiago cheese, the egg, 1/4 cup fresh basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper - stir until creamy.
|The ingredients for the filling|
|creamy and ready to spread on noodles|
When the lasagna noodles are ready, carefully remove them from the water and place them straight out on wax paper. I used two pieces and stacked them 3 per piece - which gave me working room on my counter and prevented them sticking together.
Allow to cool while you are finishing prep work.
|grating the cheese while the noodles cool|
Place about 1/2 of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. I used a round souffle dish that I thought would perfectly hold 6 roll-ups...and it did.
Place 1/6 of your ricotta mixture on a lasagna noodle and spread it to the end. Top with 1/6 of the grated Mozzarella.
|spread the filling and top with more grated cheese - yummo!|
Roll it up - not too tightly - you don't want to squish the cheese out.
|Six little piggies snuggled up in bed|
Carefully transfer to casserole and nestle it, seam side down, into the sauce. (I laid mine on their sides. The ones the teen had were standing straight up - and not covered by sauce. The pasta on the outside was hard and chewy - very unpleasant. So, I laid mine down.) Continue the same procedure with the rest of the noodles and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Jiggle the casserole so the sauce gets down between each roll-up.
Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on top.
|Ready to pop in the oven|
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to sit, loosely covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes.
|Resting after removal from the oven|
Carefully try to determine where one of the rolls is located to begin serving. You could have, of course, done this without meat. The O.G. dish had no meat. The teen, however, is an omnivore...and he likes meat in his pasta sauce. So, that's what I did.
I served two per person, because that is what Olive Garden provided. That was WAY too much food for me though. The teen loved it and ate both of his roll-ups. His first comment was "yay, these are soft...these are really good Mom!"
|Maybe not as pretty as Olive Garden's Rollata...but incredibly more tasty!|
Huge sigh of contentment. Nothing better than happy consumers when you've cooked a meal that comes from the heart of your kitchen!
Really, it's just a different way to serve lasagna. I probably wouldn't have done it if he hadn't ordered the Rolatta al forno at Olive Garden...I doubt he'll ever do that again!
Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!