A few weeks ago I found myself in the organic section of the grocery store picking up a box of kamut lasagna noodles. This was a strange occurrence for me, not because of the kamut but because I have never purchased a box of lasagna noodles. Ever.
I have never made a lasagna from scratch myself. There, I’ve admitted it.
And here are some reasons why:
– I will never be able to make a lasagna that even attempts to rival Neil’s aunts (all of his aunts!) and his mother’s, for that matter. (aunts make the classic Italian meat version, mom makes a creamy béchamel version. Neil daydreams often about both)
– I pretty much know for sure that any homemade version I attempt has no chance standing up against the one from 7 Numbers in Toronto either.
– Making a whole lasagna for just two people seems silly somehow, and I never think of making it for guests.
– Lasagna just always seems like a major pain in the butt to make. When I think of the steps involved compared to the simplicity of the final product, my brain shuts down.
So there I was staring at the kamut lasagna noodles thinking “but they’re so pretty!” I realize this might make me a little crazy, but there it is. I’m big on the aesthetics of my food. I’ve always thought that lasagna noodles, with their curly edges, are quite an attractive noodle and they’re usually hidden among the layers of sauce, cheese and other typical lasagna accoutrements.
I bought the box and figured I’d either research some cool way to use them, or surprise Neil sometime by trying to finally make my own lasagna. The first option came to fruition after a little scan on FoodGawker. As soon as I spotted some photos of what some people call “lasagna rollups”, I knew what to do.
I wasn’t in the mood for the classic flavors of lasagna and didn’t want to make a tomato-based sauce. I also didn’t have a lot of time.
What followed was one of the easiest and quickest dinners I’ve ever made. I’m not joking. This recipe both showcases the ‘prettiness’ of the lasagna noodles and comes together faster than anyone would believe once they see and taste the final result.
You can obviously use this same idea with any kind of filling and/or sauce and you can make as many or as little as you want at a time.
I think I’ve found a new go-to weeknight dinner, and a reason to finally stock my cupboard with some of the most attractive noodles around.
Lasagna Noodles – I used Kamut noodles, 10 of them (you can make as much or as little as you want, just adjust the filling accordingly)
1 475g tub ricotta (I used light ricotta)
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of basil, chopped
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
Handful of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1 ½ cups of hot water
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup white wine
Half a lemon
Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package, but make sure you leave them al dente. If they’re too soft, they’ll fall apart and will be hard to work with.
Preheat the oven the 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix all five ingredients for the filling.
Chop the soft porcini mushrooms but reserve all of the liquid they were sitting in.
In a sauté pan, cook the shallot in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add in the butter and sauté a few minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
Add in the white wine and slowly raise the heat to medium high as you mix, to cook off the alcohol. Add in the chopped porcinis and 1 cup of the mushroom liquid. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, mix and take off heat.
When the lasagna noodles are done, drain them and run cold water over them to cool them off.
Place noodles on a cutting board or clean, dry surface. Spoon the filling mixture onto each lasagna noodle. Roll each noodle slowly, using both hands.
Place all the pinwheels into a glass baking dish and pour the mushroom sauce overtop.
Place in the oven for about 15 minutes to heat everything through.
To serve, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little bit of chopped parsley.