Lasagna is one of my favorite pasta meals. It is not an everyday meal in our home but one reserved for the holidays. It can often be found in Italian American homes on Thanksgiving as the first dish.
The one thing I don’t love about lasagna is that it can be messy to serve and not always look nice on a plate. So I decided to take my nonna’s recipe and make it into lasagna rolls. My nonna always put tiny meatballs into her lasagna along with ricotta and mozzarella. So, I basically deconstructed the meatballs into the sauce and filled each roll with a mixture of ricotta, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella. And I have to say this was a complete success. The rollatini is delicious and so easy to serve. Plus you can make these a day in advance. Just be sure to cover it well and refrigerate.
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion – About 1 Cup Chopped
1 lb. Ground Pork
½ lb. Ground Beef
2 tsp. Garlic Pepper – I use McCormick California Style
2 ½ Tsp. Salt
1 ½ Tsp. Black Pepper
3 tbsp. Tomato Paste
3 Cans Whole Tomatoes – Pureed
2 Tsp. Parsley – Chopped
¾ Cups Grated Pecorino Romano
½ Cup chopped Basil
4 Cups Ricotta
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1 ½ Cups Grated Pecorino Romano
16 oz. grated Mozzarella
1 pkg (18 PCs) lasagna noodles
Boil water in a large pasta pot and salt it.
In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil to low/medium heat. Add the onions. Cook them for about 7 minutes on a low to medium flame until they become translucent. Add the ground pork and beef. Using a wooden spoon break up the meat into tiny pieces, like you would to make tacos. Cook the meat for about 10 minutes until it browns and is no longer pink. Season with the garlic pepper, salt and pepper. Then add the tomato paste. Cook for about a minute mixing the tomato paste into the meat mixture. Add the whole tomatoes that you have puréed. Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes. Add the basil, the chopped parsley, and the grated pecorino. Combine well and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Boil the lasagna. Make sure it is al dente. Drain when done and cool. Separate each piece of lasagna so they do not stick together. I drape each piece over the edge of the pot.
Preheat your oven to 375°. In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the ricotta, ¾ of the shredded mozzarella, 1 cup Pecorino, eggs and parley.
Coat the bottom of two large glass Pyrex baking dishes with a little sauce.
Now lay out each lasagna noodle to make the rolls. I lay them out on a cutting board. Spread a quarter cup of the ricotta mixture, and then 1 tablespoon of sauce down the middle of each lasagna noodle. Roll up the noodle and put the roll (open side down) in the baking dish. Do this with each roll. Make sure each role is separated by about an inch. Top the rolls with more sauce, the remaining ½ cup of grated pecorino and mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and put back in the oven and cook until golden brown.