It’s not difficult to make. You can spread the work over a couple of days, assemble the dish and freeze it. Thaw, bake and serve. And that makes it an ideal party dish because on the day you serve it, there’s nothing to do except put it in the oven and garnish it once it comes out.
Now, the obvious question. How come the fillings don’t slide off the noodle during rolling? There are a few tricks.
The first is to allow the surface of the cooked noodles to dry before filling and rolling. The best way to do this is to line them up on a rack and leave them to let the air dry out the surface.
The second is to never use hot filling. There are two layers of filling in this dish. The first is a mixture of blanched and chopped spinach mixed with shredded cheese, and the second is meat. The spinach was allowed to cool completely before the cheese was stirred in.
The meat was cooked ahead and chilled. Chilling solidifies the fat in the sauce. That means no liquid separates and drips off when you spread the meat sauce on the noodle.
After filling and rolling up the noodles, they are arranged on a baking dish, smothered with more sauce, and topped with cheese. Freeze for baking later or pop in the oven, bake and serve.
Meaty lasagna roll-ups
- 400 grams sausages Andouille or Spanish chorizo, or a combination, is recommended
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 4 to 6 lasagna cooked in salted water and drained
- 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese I used a Dutch cheese with chilies
- 1 ½ cups spinach blanched, squeezed and chopped
- chiffonaded basil to garnish
Cook the meat sauce
- Slit the sausages and discard the skins.
- Crumble the sausage meat and spread on a frying pan. Leave to brown the underside in the fat that renders, stir and continue cooking until uniformly browned.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and allow to boil.
- Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar to get a good balance of flavors. Continue cooking until the sauce loses its soupy appearance.
- Cool the meat sauce and chill until firm.
Assemble the lasagna roll-ups
- Spread the cooked lasagna on a rack to allow water to drip off.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Spread a couple of tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking pan that should be large enough to hold all the rolled lasagna noodles.
- Stir together one cup of shredded cheese and the chopped spinach.
- Lay a lasagna noodle flat. Spread two or more tablespoons of the cheese-spinach mixture on the noodle.
- To the spinach-cheese mixture with a couple of tablespoonfuls of the cold meat sauce.
- Roll the lasagna and immediately and arrange, seam side down, on the baking tray.
- Repeat until all the noodles have been filled and rolled.
- Spoon the remaining tomato sauce on top, around and between the rolled noodles.
- Top each rolled noodle with shredded cheese.
- Bake, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the meat sauce is heated through, the tomato sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle chiffonaded basil over the meaty lasagna roll-ups before serving.