Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spinach Lasagna or Rollups

I've been making this dish for a while now for my family and have been actively seeking ways to make it less labor intensive. One day I stumbled upon this Spinach Lasagna Rolls recipe over at Skinny Taste. I thought, "That's something I could totally do here!" Yes, at first glance, you would probably have to make nearly every ingredient from scratch. Let me save you some searching before you think you don't have to--lasagna noodles are a rare find here so just give up on that quest. I did, however, find one short cut... or two. Shortcut one: Don't make cottage cheese. Just buy paneer and squish it into little curds. Shortcut two: Turn yesterday's tomato soup into sauce by adding grated carrots and a can of tomato paste. Shortcut three: Don't pre-boil the pasta. These are totally a hit in our house, but for whatever reason, my daughter seems to eat them in plain lasagna style better than as rollups so I'll go the quicker route from now on. If you've got a day with a little more time and have someone who can help you whip up the individual parts, give it a try!

Spinach Lasagna
9 fresh lasagna noodles (see Pasta recipe below)
1 1/2 cups cooked chopped spinach
Almost 2 cups/425g paneer (check the fridge case or the dairy in your immediate area)
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or whatever you can get your hands on)
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt (less if you use a salty cheese)
Fresh pepper
3-4 cups your favorite pasta sauce (I LOVE this one!)
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated

Preheat the oven to 170C/350F. In a medium sized bowl, mix the spinach, crumbled paneer, grated cheese (not the mozzarella), egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly. Pour a small amount of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan just to coat the bottom. If you're doing rollups, place 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture on each noodle and spread it out the length of the noodle. Roll it up and place seam side down on the pan. If you're making plain lasagna, lay out a layer of noodles followed by a layer of the cheese mixture and sauce. Repeat, ending with a layer of sauce over noodles. You should top each roll up with some sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top of the lasagna or rollups, cover with greased foil, and bake for 40 minutes or until deliciously melty.

Homemade Pasta
1 cup flour
2 small to medium sized eggs, beaten.
Pinch of salt

Put the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs which have already been beaten. Sprinkle in the salt and mix by hand until you've got a sticky dough. Turn it out onto a flour surface and knead until the dough firms up. After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic ball. If it's too sticky, add more flour. Cover and allow to rest at least 30 minutes before rolling. Cut the ball into 4 pieces. Roll each piece paper thin and cut into flat lasagna noodle shapes (go thinner than you think you need). No need to boil. Just use them straight away in the recipe.

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