Monday, February 13, 2012

Goat Cheese and Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

You may need to take a second look at the title of this post until it sinks in. If you are wondering whether or not this was as delicious as it sounds, it WAS. I think I cleared my plate in .2 seconds.

The idea for my heavenly Sunday night meal came from a recipe in Cory's family. I made a few tweaks based on what I like and what I had available. The overall message, of course, was the same--this is a fun spin on a classic Italian recipe! Also, the cute little rolls let you really portion these out evenly and not have to worry about everything sliding apart as you would a traditional lasagna.

I would definitely recommend making this on a weekend night or a day off. It takes a little bit of assembly but the end product was a hit around here. If the pictures don't make your mouth water, give this recipe a try -- you won't be disappointed!

Recipe for Goat Cheese and Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups, in a thick Pesto Sauce

What you need:

For the Roll-ups
1 box cooked lasagna noodles (I used about 13). Cooked ALDENTE!
2 egg whites
4 cups of ricotta cheese (part skim, because we are "watching our figures")
4 to 6 ounces of fresh goat cheese
2 to 3 handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces or so of fresh shredded mozzarella cheese

For the Sauce
2 cups fresh basil, cleaned and stems pulled off
4 cloves of fresh garlic
1 cup toasted pine nuts (takes about 5 minutes in the oven (do not burn!)
3/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 cup or more of grated Parmesan-Romano cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half (once again, "watching our figures")

Here's what you do:
Start by cooking your lasagna noodles (do not break) in a generously salted pot of boiling water. Strain and let them cool for a bit. You don't want them to sit out too long because they should still be flexible and not sticky when you roll.
Prepare the sauce while the noodles are cooking. The base of this sauce is from my good friend and fellow food connoisseur, Lauren Jensen. The first 5 ingredients are from her mom's outstanding pesto recipe. I simply added the half and half, and took out a little bit of the olive oil so it held up a little better in the oven.
Start by dropping the basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor or blender and start chopping.
Slowly and gradually add the olive oil while the ingredients are mixing. Scrap down the blender to make sure you don't leave anything hanging!
Add the cheese, salt, and pepper and blend until it is just slightly lumpy. Blend in the half and half. This will make it a little creamy. YUM!

I have both a blender and a small food processor (thanks Santa!) so I prepped the filling in the food processor and my sauce in a blender. If you only have one of these amenities, make sure you use it for the pesto sauce and use a little bit of elbow grease for the filling.
OK. So. The amazing filling. Lightly beat the two egg whites with a fork. Add to food processor.
Add the ricotta, goat, and Monterey Jack cheeses. Mix until smooth (do not over mix because this will make it a little too watery. The thicker it is, the better it will hold up to the heat without oozing out of the lasagna noodles).
Add the spinach and pulse a few times until chopped and evenly mixed. Salt and Pepper to taste.

I am truly and utterly obsessed with goat cheese. It is tangy, and smooth, and delicious. It adds a nice bite to this filling. Also, it cuts the grittiness of ricotta and makes the filling so much smoother. If you think you don't like Goat Cheese, I BEG YOU please try it out for the first time with this recipe. You won't be disappointed.
So now -- we must build our roll-ups! Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Place one lasagna noodle on a clean plate. Brush about 2 to 3 tablespoons of your filling onto the noodle, leaving about 1 inch at the end to allow to overflow.

Gently roll the noodle and place, seam side down, in your baking dish.

Repeat until you have 2 rows of 6-8 roll ups.
Top with Pesto Sauce and Mozzarella cheese.

Is your mouth watering yet?
Pop in a 350 degree oven for 15-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the noodles are cooked through.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

I really love this recipe because as Cory and I were eating it, we were thinking of different ways we could make this. Adding a layer of meat to the filling, red sauce, different cheeses and veggies! There are so many things you can do to make this your own. It was a great dose of comfort food for a chilly Sunday evening.

So give this a try -- let me know what kind of creative liberties you take. I'm sure they will be nothing short of delicious!

No comments:

Post a Comment