Saturday, February 13, 2010

Roller derby...

My son has been making dinner requests lately. I love it! Not only does it make life easier for me but it's just cool watching him develop a palate. Lasagna was requested last week and tonight I was finally going to make it.

Giada De Laurentiis makes these lasagna rolls in her cookbook Giada's Family Dinners. I used this idea as the archetype to make mine.

In order to please my boy, it couldn't be too cheesy or saucy. I opted for a small amount of regular cottage cheese instead of traditional ricotta and I also put less shredded mozzarella on top. It was more about the noodles and turkey.

Well, they were a hit with the whole family!

Turkey Lasagna Rolls

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or 2 small, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, pulsed in the food processor with a handful of fresh basil leaves until almost smooth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it!)

Heat up a large pot of water over high heat, add a dash of olive oil.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.
Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon more of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 7 minutes, breaking apart the meat into little pieces with a wooden spoon.

The water should start to boil by now, add the lasagna noodles and use tongs to gently get all of the noodles submerged under water. Turn off the heat completely. Let the noodles sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Then gently remove them from the water one by one with tongs.
Place them on a plate or cutting board separated by damp paper towels to prevent sticking. I like my noodles quite al dente and I find that boiling them for the recommended time makes them taste overcooked in the end. Please feel free to cook them according to package directions though.

As you wait for the noodles to soften, go back to your onions and turkey in the pan. Add the tomato/basil puree, tomato paste and sugar. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take 2 cups of this sauce and keep in a separate bowl to the side, this is going on top of the lasagna rolls. Let sauce cool down.
After about ten minutes of cooling, add cottage cheese and egg into a medium sized bowl and mix well. Now add the meat sauce and fold in to combine everything.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with unsalted butter.

Now to assemble the rolls. Lay down a lasagna noodle on your work surface and spread a couple tablespoons of the meat mixture onto it.
Roll it up jellyroll style and place into the baking dish. Yes, it is going to be a mess so don't worry about how it looks. You will continue to do this until you have four rows, three rolls per row.
Evenly spread the 2 cups of sauce you had set aside all over the top.
Next evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top of that. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, turn heat up to 375 degrees F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes more or until slightly brown and bubbly.


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