Sausage and Spinach Lasagna Rolls with a Pesto Tomato Sauce

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WOW that title is a mouthful, at least it is a tasty one! My husband raved over these little lasagna rolls. In fact, he said if I ever openned a restaurant I would HAVE to have these on the menu. What a great compliment for a dinner I threw together with stuff in the fridge.

Those of you who know me and/or have been following my posts know that I LOVE pesto. I could honestly just eat it right off the spoon (and have). Yum! I hope to someday have a Cuisinart food processor where I can make all sorts of great pestos, right now the jarred-grocery store kind works wonderfully. I had a partially used jar of pesto in the fridge and could not let it go to waste. Pesto was the inspiration for these lasagna rolls. I also had a partial jar of marinara sauce and a couple handfuls of baby spinach in the fridge that needed to be used. A little spicy Italian sausage in the freezer and I had the workings for a tasty sounding lasagna.

Let me just say that adding pesto to your jarred tomato sauce really freshens it up. The garlic and basil really complement the tomatoey flavor of a marinara. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna Rolls

1 lb spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
3 c mozzarella cheese
1 10 oz jar Pesto
1 28 oz jar Marinara sauce
couple handfuls Baby Spinach
1 package “boil” Lasagna noodles
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Fill large pot with water, bring to boil. Salt water and add lasagna noodles, cook to package directions. Drain (reserving 1 c liquid), and rinse in cool water. Separate noodles on counter or cookie sheet, so they don’t stick together. Heat skillet over medium heat and brown sausage, breaking up large chunks, drain. Grease 9 x 9 baking dish.

Mix together pesto and marinara. Add 1/2 c sauce to bottom of baking dish. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, 1 c mozzarella, spinach, and reserved noodle liquid.

Assemble rolls:

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Spread ricotta mixture on lasagna noodle.

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Top with some browned sausage. Roll.

Place seam-side down in pan. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Top with remaining sauce mixture and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil, bake 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese browns.  ENJOY!

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La La LASAGNA!

This weekend Alex and I had a few friends come to stay. I love to cook and wanted to make something delicious, but I did not want to slave away in the kitchen all afternoon in order to prepare dinner. Lasagna sounded good. It is easy enough to make, and if you use no-boil noodles, there is very little prep time required of you. So lasagna it was. My friend Michelle whipped up a Jello No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake while I assembled the lasagna.

Michelle and I ran to the grocery store to get the ingredients we needed, while the guys watched the kids and the results of the SC primary. Things were running smoothly, by my calculations, dinner would be ready just in time for the little girls to fill their bellies before heading off to bed. I had browned my meat and was beginning to assemble my lasagna when I realized that I only had FOUR lasagna noodles. FOUR. That was it. So I quickly made the girls peanut butter sandwiches (sorry girls!) and ran back to the store to get more noodles. Things didn’t go according to plan, but everything turned out perfectly in the end. While the lasagna was cooking; Michelle and I gave the girls a bath and put them in bed. This allowed the adults to have dinner in peace and quiet. It was a great weekend. Good food, good friends and a great time.

LASAGNA

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 T olive oil
2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
4 c mozzarella cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown beef and sausage in olive oil, until cooked through. Make sure to break meat apart while cooking. Drain off excess fat once meat is cooked through. Combine egg, ricotta, 2c mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper together. Grease a 9×13 in. pan. Pour 1c sauce on bottom. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on bottom. Put 1/3 cheese mixture down on top of noodles. Next place 1/3 meat mixture, followed by 1/2c mozzarella cheese. Cover with 1-1 1/2 c sauce. Repeat process twice. Once you get to the last layer, place 4 lasagna noodles on top, cover with the last of the sauce, followed by last of the mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.