So here’s the thing about this recipe. It started off as one thing, and got changed and twisted and altered soo many different times and soo many different ways that it became something else entirely! This dish initially started out as a “cheeseburger stuffed pasta shell” that my husband is ultra fond of, but that I never really got into. I took out the beef, added some spinach, changed the cheese, altered the sauce…..and it all morphed into this delicious spinach and ricotta stuffed shell.
AND THEN! As if this dish wasn’t morphing enough, I stumbled across a recipe by another blogger at skinnygirl.com that had something extremely similar to my recipe, only instead of a pasta shell, she rolled it up in a lasagna noodle. Tah-daaahhh!! That was the missing component! I can now happily say that this dish is exactly the way I like it. It’s deceptively simple, there’s not alot of spice or anything, but it’s the easiness and the simplicity that really appeals to me. You can taste every ingredient for exactly what it is. No more, no less.
Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
Half a box of lasagna noodles (the recipe will need 9 noodles, but I usually cook 10 or 11 as I always manage to tear a few…)
Chopped spinach. One large bunch of washed, stemmed, fresh spinach – or if you’re in a pinch you can thaw and drain a frozen package.
15oz Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 large can tomato sauce (28-32 oz) I’ve tried to use all sorts of marinara here, and feel free to experiment, but I really think the acidic taste of the straight tomato sauce compliments this dish.
shredded mozzarella cheese
salt/pepper to taste
1. Cook up the lasagna noodles to just-done. After cooking, separate them out so they don’t all stick together and make a mess for you later. Careful, they will be hot. You will singe your fingertips. No real way around it, you gotta do it, so man-up and get them pulled apart and layed out nicely on either a sheet of wax paper or a laid out dish towel or even a cutting board.
2. Preheat the oven to 350
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the spinach, Ricotta, Parmesan, and egg. Add salt and pepper to your liking. For this, I like just a little pepper and an extra grind or two of salt.
4. Pour about a cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. You can use a full sized 9×13 for this, but I prefer to use the half sized 9×9. It fits just fine and seems to hold the sauce better. Either way, spread that sauce around the bottom, it will keep the noodles from sticking to the dish.
5. Here’s the fun part. Go to where you have your lasagna noodles laying out and spread approx. 1/3 cup of the spinach mix throughout the entire noodle. Leave about 1 inch of the very end dry so it seals up nicely for you. Roll it slowly up and seal it with the dry inch and put it seem side down in the sauced casserole dish. Keep doing this until you’re out of sauce and/or noodles.
6. Pour some more tomato sauce over the tops of the nicely rolled noodles. Sprinkle each sauced roll up with a finger’s pinch of mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes.
8. When cooked, top each roll with a little of the sauce and a fresh pinch of mozzarella and you’re all set.