Monday, January 05, 2009

Ricotta, Chicken and Basil Lasagna Rolls

When I was on the floor menu planning this weekend, swimming in a sea of our untried recipes, Jeff pipped up and asked if I had come across anything resembling a lasagna since he had been craving one. I hadn't yet, but remembered a few ideas I had came across in recent weeks and out came these Ricotta, Chicken and Basil Lasagna Rolls!

While we waited on the firm sheets of lasagna noodles to soften in a big 'ol pot of salted water, we kept ourselves busy by creating the filling. To make that stuffing, we used a sturdy wooden spoon to whip together ricotta cheese with cooked chicken, fresh grated Asiago cheese, a couple splashes of milk, fresh basil, granulated garlic and a touch of crushed red pepper flakes. You want the filling to be loose enough to spread well, but still have some thickness so it won't run out of the rolls as they baked.

When the noodles were done and drained, I laid them all out naked on a couple silpats to keep them from sticking to each other - a clean, moistened towel would probably work just as well. To speed the assembly process along, I used a large cookie scoop that held about 3 tablespoons or so and just mounded the filling up on it to measure out the roughly 1/3 cup used for each noodle. When you spread it out, leave a clean space at one end so the noodle has something to grab onto when you roll it up. To make sure the filled rolls don't stick to the baking pan, a layer of sauce is spread over the bottom before they are snugly fit inside. A lofty amount of marinara is then spooned over each roll, keeping them moist and protected from the heat as they bake.

Baked covered, be sure to leave the cheese off until the last 10 minutes or so and just toss it over the top of the bubbling rolls, when the cover is removed, and it will quickly melt. While I thought there was just enough filling, it was spread fairly thin - if you don't need to stretch it out as much, I think you could get away with using 10 lasagna sheets and come out with rolls that a little more stuffed. If Asiago cheese isn't one you keep in your refrigerator, Parmesan would be a good fit... Asiago is a little salty and sharp like Parmesan, but we are attracted by its slightly nuttier flavor. I do prefer to use the aged Asiago (d´Allev) versus fresh (Pressato) - the aged is a little darker in color, harder in texture and is made from partially skimmed milk, where the fresh is made from whole milk and is softer. Saying that, I don't ignore the fresh... it is a killer cheese to use on a panini!


  1. I love lasagna rolls! I make a similar recipe with chopped cured prosciutto instead of chicken. It gives it great smoky, salty flavor.

  2. I love to make lasagna rolls. They are hearty and easy to make, plus they are great for the cold months. And this recipe freezes well! Thanks!

  3. Looks lovely. I need to create a new stack of meals for the new year--I might add this to the pile!

  4. I've never made lasagna rolls, these look good Joe! Alot simpler than full out lasagna!

  5. Anon - love the prosciutto twist!

    Anne - I agree - great to make ahead of time!

    Jen - Be sure to let us know what you think!

    Bunny - Really? Give them a try... they are easy!