I have a friend coming to visit in April, so I have been thinking about her and what kinds of things she likes to eat in order to prepare meals she would enjoy while she is here. I’m pretty sure she likes Italian, so recently I tried out a recipe that I thought might be good for her visit. I am so glad I found it, because it is such a wonderful dish that I am sure I will be making it frequently, company or not. We have already eaten it several times now, and our whole family thought it was delicious.
These rolls have all the flavors of lasagna, but each lasagna noodle is rolled up individually with cream cheese and fresh spinach leaves on the inside, homemade sauce on the outside, and mozzarella cheese melted over the top. The sauce is scrumptious with lots of herbs, garlic, and onion to flavor it.
One of my favorite parts is the sausage link that is centered in the middle of the roll, and rolled up kind of like a little treasure you are rewarded with at the end of your meal.
Aren’t they cute? I just can’t resist cute food. It is such a fun update to an old classic. My friend has been coming to our house every spring for about 23 years now so I hate to bore her with the same recipes each time. I want her visit to be special. But, really it doesn’t matter so much about the food. The best part is the time we get to sit and talk and catch up with what’s going on in our lives. Living so far apart, I look forward to the time we get to be together. Whether we eat lasagna rolls or peanut butter sandwiches, it is always fun. One thing we both have in common, though, is our love for dessert. So stay tuned in the next couple weeks for a few dessert recipes I will be trying out in anticipation of her stay as well. It will be a sweet time together in more ways than one!
Italian Sausage Lasagna Rolls
1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
- 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- 1 tsp. each dried basil, marjoram, oregano
- 1/2 tsp. each parsley and thyme
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste
- 10 lasagna noodles
- 10 Italian pork sausage links
- 2 pkgs. (6 oz. each) fresh baby spinach
- 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. Cook and stir frequently until almost tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook over low heat until for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
- Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While noodles are boiling, cook sausages in a large skillet according to package directions. Place cooked sausages on paper towels to drain, but DO NOT wash grease out of pan.
- In same pan, cook and stir spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain and squeeze dry.
- In a bowl, mix cream cheese and spinach.
- Spread out lasagna noodles on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spread about 1/4 inch cream cheese mixture over each noodle. Don’t put more as it will squeeze out when you roll it up.
- Place a sausage on one end of each noodle. Roll up, tightly at first, starting with the sausage end. When you get past the sausage don’t roll as tightly, depending on how big you want your rolls to be.
- Place rolled noodles side down in a 9 x 13 pan. Spoon sauce over each noodle, covering them so they won’t dry out while baking. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese over each roll. Wrap pan with foil, tenting the top so it won’t pull off the cheese when removed.
- Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Take off foil, and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is just starting to brown. Watch carefully.
- If desired, sprinkle rolls with fresh parsley to garnish. Refrigerate leftovers. To make ahead of time, you can freeze the rolls before adding sauce, and freeze sauce as well. Then thaw overnight in the refrigerator, assemble, and bake when needed.
Recipe from Dianna Dorn who was the Lasagna Finalist in a Johnsonville Sausage recipe contest.