Saturday, August 2, 2014

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rollatini

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rollatini baked after frozen

I love dishes with white sauce and lots of ricotta.  I will opt for the often vegetarian white pizzas or lasagna dishes, ignoring my carnivorous bloodlust for animal protein in exchange for the delectable combination of  ricotta, cream and mushrooms.  Sometimes these dishes include chicken.  I do not find that it does anything to enhance the overall flavor or texture of the dish.  In fact, I prefer not having the addition of the usually dried out chicken pieces.  I'll order a side of wings or something to satisfy my need for meat.  Or preferably add a fried egg to whatever white pizza or pasta dish (I call that reason for leftovers).
Rollatini requires a bit more effort, but I find that it is much easier to serve.  My lasagna slices always fall apart when I scoop them onto a plate.  Can't have sloppily plated food, now can we?
However, if you are not in the habit of photographing your food, you can just use this recipe to build a regular lasagna.
This recipe can be divided into smaller portion sizes and freezes beautifully.

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rollatini
9 oz dried lasagna noodles
2 lbs spinach leaves, lightly chopped
2 lbs white button or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp butter
Avocado oil (or any cooking oil)
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb mozzarella
1 16 oz tub ricotta
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp dried tarragon (double if fresh)

Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water for time specified on package.  Strain and lay flat to cool once cooked.
While lasagna noodles are cooking, shred the mozzarella with a grater.  Divide into 2 Set aside.
Lightly blanch the spinach leaves by dunking them in boiling water for a minute and then quickly straining.  Set aside to cool.
Add just enough oil to a large and heavy sauce pan to cover the bottom.  Heat over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add sliced mushrooms and spread evenly.  Do not disturb the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated and browned on one side.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.  Place mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.  Do not clean the pan.
In the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms, add butter and onions.  Cook over medium heat until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add heavy cream to the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cream coats the back of a metal spoon.  Add 2 tbsp of the browned mushroom to the cream sauce.
Mix ricotta, tarragon (rub the tarragon between your palms to release the aroma) and beaten egg together until well combined.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of the mushroom cream sauce evenly on the bottom.
On a flat surface, lay out one sheet of lasagna noodle.  Spread an even layer (doesn't have to be too thick) of each in the following order:
  • ricotta mixture 
  • shredded mozzarella (from first half of mozzarella)
  • browned mushrooms
  • blanched spinach
Carefully roll up the noodle and place in the baking dish.
Repeat with rest of lasagna noodles.  Evenly sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella over the top of the stuffed noodles.  Spoon the rest of the cream sauce over the top of the dish.*  Cover loosely with foil.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is browned at the edges.

*At this point, you can wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and again with a layer of foil to freeze for up to 3 months.  To bake from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and loosely cover top of dish with foil.  Bake in a preheated to 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

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