Can you recall the last time you had a lasagna in which the sauce was the rock star? Not the pasta, not the cheese, not the fillings, but the sauce? Unless it was a special non-tomato sauce, chances are you don't notice it. Chances are, the sauce was part of the big picture but didn't stand out from the rest of the ingredients.
When Bertolli and Foodbuzz sent me a jar of Bertolli's Arrabiata Sauce, I wanted to make sure that whatever I made with it, the sauce would get center stage. Sure, I could try to make some really complex recipe with a long laundry list of ingredient. However, I wanted to keep it simple.
Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce is slightly spicy and contains red peppers for an added dimension of flavor.
So how to I make this excellent sauce stand out? Complement it with other ingredients that support it but don't overtake it. Portobello mushrooms have a nice meaty flavor and can serve as a healthy alternative to ground beef. Mushrooms naturally take on any flavors that surround it and give a nice textural element to whatever it's in. I kept the Ricotta filling plain. Ricotta, egg and salt. That's it. I had contemplated using smoked mozarella but opted to go with regular shredded mozarella so as not to compete with the spiciness of the Arrabiata sauce. This is now my favorite lasagna. It even beats my mother's classic mushroom & beef lasagna, which I was literally raised on. I highly encourage you to try this dish out.
You'll need a whole jar of Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce for this recipe.
2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced and chopped
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
salt to taste
package of lasagna noodles
1/2 cup of Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce*
to coat bottom of casserole dish
rest of the jar of Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce
2 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Heat up a large pot of water until it's at a rolling boil. Cook your lasagna noodles according to package directions (or until al dente). Fish out noodles and add them to a large bowl of cold water. This will stop them from cooking, keep from them sticking together and make them cooler to handle.
Heat a skillet with some light olive oil. When the oil starts to sizzle, add your portobello mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the 1/2 cup of Bertolli's Arrabiata sauce and heat through. Set mixture aside to cool.
Mix your ricotta cheese, egg and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
To create the rolls. Lay out a lasagna noodle. At one end of the noodle, add a spoonful of the portobello mushroom mixture. Then add a spoonful of the ricotta mixture on top of the mushroom mixture. Carefully roll the lasagna noodle, tucking in the mixture as you go. Roll until you have a nice bundle.
Add your rolls to your casserole dish, making sure that the end of the noodle is facing down so that your roll doesn't unravel. Keep adding your rolls until the casserole dish is packed. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you may have extra noodles, mushroom mixture and ricotta mixture.
Cover the rolls evenly with the remaining Arrabiata sauce. Then sprinkle your mozarella cheese on top.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil (don't seal) and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 15 more minutes or until the cheese on top gets nice and bubbly. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve.
The rolls make individual portions and make the lasagna easier to serve. I like to sprinkle some extra mozarella on top while it's still hot. This dish is even better as re-heated leftovers the next day.