The idea of building a multi-tiered, multi-component lasagna can be dizzying for most cooks. For them, we offer this simplified form, the lasagna roll: a tight pasta bundle containing all the same flavors as the traditional baked pasta, but without the daunting architecture. Its basic shape helps you avoid creating one of those cheesy, soupy catastrophes so common in Italian-American restaurants, the ones where it's impossible to discern where the pasta stops and the sauce begins. The structure is sound, the flavors are clear and pronounced, and the calories are greatly reduced. What more could you want?
Nutrition: 380 calories, 11 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 950 mg sodium
10–12 long, thin lasagna noodles (about 6 oz)
6 oz Italian-style chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed
1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups bottled marinara
3⁄4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
How to Make It
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente (usually about 30 seconds to a minute less than the package instructions recommend).
- Drain and toss with just enough oil to coat (to keep them from sticking).
- While the pasta cooks, brown the sausage in a large sauté pan over medium heat until cooked through.
- Add the spinach, pepper flakes, and nutmeg, and cook until the spinach is warmed through.
- Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Combine with the ricotta in a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread a thin layer of the marinara on the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking dish.
- Lay out the noodles on a cutting board and cut each in half crosswise.
- Working one strip at a time, place a large spoonful of the spinach-ricotta mixture at the end of the noodle, then roll into a tight package (but not too tight or the filling will squeeze out).
- Continue until you've run out of the ricotta-spinach mixture, about 20 lasagna rolls. Place the rolls in the pan as you complete each one.
- Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining marinara, then with the mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese and sauce are bubbling.