Yesterday I told you how we make an American Holiday Italian-American by serving an Antipasto course. Not only do we do that but we also have a pasta course. My mom has been trying to cut one of these out for years but I won't have it. They are traditions that I love. Believe me, I understand that it's a lot of food but we all love the leftovers and now that I'm older and help with the cooking it's not too much work for one person (my mother). I originally was going to make homemade manicotti but my mom didn't want it. So sort of at the last minute I decided to make this lasagna rolls which is more portion controlled than lasagna and less work than manicotti but essentially, it's the same thing. It makes a lot and I have a nice tray in my fridge for during the week and another small one in my freezer.
2 packages of lasagna sheets (NOT the no boil) (you will have some leftover)
6 pounds part skim ricotta (usually comes in 3lb containers)
2 pounds shredded or cubed mozzarella
2 large eggs, beaten
Prepared Meat Sauce - use 3 cans crushed tomatoes
1. Cook lasagna sheets in boiling salted water with a drizzle of oil, according to box directions. This is the ONLY time you should add oil to your pasta water. These sheets tend to stick and the oil helps to keep them seperated.
2. Mix ricotta, romano cheese, pepper and parsley. Taste and add more romano if needed. The amount of cheese depends on how salty and strong you like it. Add eggs and combine with cheese misture.
3. In a large casserole pan add enough sauce to cover the bottom. This keeps the lasagna moist and prevents sticking. On a large flat surface place a couple of cooked lasagna sheets. Spread some of the ricotta mixture, top with some mozzarella and a spoonful of meat sauce. Roll and put into the casserole dish.
4. Cover with sauce and more mozzarella. You can freeze now for later use or bake at 350 for 30 minutes to heat through and melt the mozzarella.
This makes two large casserole dishes. I used an aluminum pan because I didn't have anything big enough. It made about 36 rolls. If you have leftover lasagna sheets (which I did) you can tear them or cut them and toss with sauce. It's like eating pappardelle, sort of. Otherwise, make 1 1/2 boxes instead of two.
I am asking you in advance to forgive my sloppy picture below ( I am not a professional cook or photographer). I made the mistake of first rolling the sheets in sauce...too messy and completely unnecessary.
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
6-7 basil leaves (or 2 frozen cubes)
salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp sugar
Brown ground beef in about 1 Tbsp of oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, Mrs. Dash, salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break up the meat so you don't have any large chunks. Drain oil from meat and set aside.
Saute onion and garlic in EVOO. Return meat to pot and add tomatoes. Swish water in the cans and add about ½ can of water or as needed so it’s not too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add basil. Let cook for ½ hour, stirring occasionally so sauce does not burn. Taste again for seasoning. Add 1 tsp of sugar or a little more if needed. Allow sauce to cook for ½ hour more and taste again.