During the summer I tend to make an overabundance of fresh pesto. If you have ever grown basil, you know that in the right climate it can flourish and produce more leaves that you will ever need. My solution for that is to make fresh pesto and put it in the freezer for the winter months.
One of my families favorite dishes using my fresh pesto is Italian Sausage Pesto Lasagna Rolls. One of my favorite things about this recipe is it does not require an extended cooking time that is necessary for standard lasagna.
Pesto has long been a favorite Italian sauce. It is full of rich flavor and vibrant color. One thing I have learned in making pesto is it pays to use a higher quality of olive oil, freshly shredded cheese and raw pine nuts or walnuts. You can find my pesto recipe by clicking on the link. You can make things simple when making these pesto lasagna rolls by using a pre-made pesto from the store, but I prefer to make my own because growing fresh herbs makes my heart happy. As the pesto is a key ingredient in this recipe, it is mixed in with the ricotta and spinach filling and the creamy béchamel sauce topping.
To me filling and rolling the noodles is the best part. My granddaughter, Mia, helped me roll the noodles and she loved it.
I love that the lasagna rolls are individual servings of creamy, cheesy, goodness. Pesto Lasagna Roll Ups are great for an easy weeknight or weekend dinner that the entire family will love. Enjoy!!!!
Italian Sausage Pesto Lasagna RollsCourse: Main, PastaCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Moderate
Italian Sausage Pesto Lasagna Rolls – Looking for an easy to make lasagna that does not take forever to bake? Try these Lasagna noodles all rolled up with Italian sausage, pesto, and of course cheese and more cheese!
1 pound Italian pork sausage
1 tablespoon tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 lasagna noodles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 large egg
2 cups whole milk ricotta
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup store-bought pesto or homemade pesto
- Position an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In 10-inch skillet, cook Italian sausage over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles for approximately 8 to 9 minutes for al dente. The pasta should be tender enough that it will roll without cracking. Drain well and rinse with cold water. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- To make the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk 1/2 cup at a time. Add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and is the consistency of a thin gravy, 6 to 8 minutes. Allow the béchamel sauce to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg and then stir in the ricotta, spinach, 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the pesto, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup pesto into the slightly cooled béchamel sauce.
- Brush a 13- by 9- inch baking dish with oil. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto-béchamel sauce on to the bottom of the dish.
- Lay half of the cooked lasagna noodles on a clean work surface and spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture evenly over each. Starting with a short end, roll each noodle up. As you make the rolls, transfer them to the prepared baking dish seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon the remaining pesto-béchamel sauce over the lasagna rolls and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the rolls are heated through and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is browned on top, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.