Close up of Lasagna Roll Ups, as seen on Mary Makes It Easy, season 2.
Recipe courtesy of Mary Berg

Lasagna Roll-Ups

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
A quick and kid-friendly weeknight meal. Use Mary's Big Batch Tomato Sauce, as little or as much cheese as you would like, and get ready for a delicious result.

Ingredients

Big Batch Tomato Sauce:

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season well with salt and cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain and set aside in a single layer on a sheet pan covered with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the pesto along with the spinach. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, just until wilted, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the ricotta to the bowl along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg and egg. Season with salt and pepper, stir in 2 to 3 more tablespoons of pesto and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in the same pan over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and stir in 3 cups of the tomato sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. If you’re prepping ahead and plan on freezing portions of two, set out four 6-by-8-inch foil pans or freezer-to-oven safe containers. Spread about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce into each and set aside.
  5. Lay the lasagna noodles out on a clean work surface, divide the ricotta mixture and spread down the middle of each noodle. Top with a strip of the meat sauce and gently roll-up into spirals. Place the lasagna roll-ups into the prepared pans, spoon over the remaining 1 cup of plain tomato sauce, and scatter with the mozzarella. Cover and transfer the pans to freezer bags for best storage. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  6. If making a full batch immediately, lightly grease a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with oil or non-stick cooking spray, spread 1 cup of sauce across the bottom of the dish, and assemble and cook as directed above.
  7. To cook the roll-ups, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and loosely cover the lasagna, greased side down. Bake until heated through, 30 minutes from fresh or about 1 hour from frozen. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
  8. Allow the lasagna roll-ups to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Big Batch Tomato Sauce:

Yield: about 1 gallon (4 liters)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened and lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and garlic and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine if using and cook down until the wine is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Carefully add the canned tomatoes along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and place an off-kilter lid on top to reduce splatter. Simmer for at least 15 minutes for a bright sauce and for up to 1 hour for a deeper, more rich sauce, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds and season to taste with more salt and pepper and some sugar if needed. Stir in the basil and parsley, remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Divide the sauce into four heavy-duty freezer bags, seal and lay flat on a sheet pan. Place in the freezer and freeze until solid. Stack the bags for easy storage and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To use, defrost in the fridge overnight or simply remove from the bag and heat in the microwave or over low heat.