The movers came to pick up the rest of my stuff on Monday, leaving JPs apartment pretty much scrubbed clean of any of my belongings. And now I'm in the Air France lounge at JFK. How depressing. Sure, lounges are nice and all but not when you're leaving what I've learned over the years is the best city in the entire world. There's so much to do, so much to see, so much to EAT! You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, regardless of the time of day (or night for that matter). And there's something for everyone. I don't know why tourists like NYC (I don't think I would, it takes more than a few days to get accustomed) but I definitely know why people love living there.
And so, for my last supper (hah, funny korovka...) I made JP's favorite: lasagna rolls. I've made these a few times and they never come out the same because the filling depends mostly on the ingredients I have on hand. I loosely adapted the recipe (as I tend to do) from Giada de Laurentiis' lasagna rolls. It's a perfect way to use up any leftover cheese or veggies you have an hand. I usually eat only one of these but I've seen JP polish off up to three in one sitting. Plus, they taste great reheated!
Lasagna Rolls (adapted loosely from Giada de Laurentiis)
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
6 lasagna sheets
3/4 cup + 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 ball of mozzarella, diced finely (or you can use shredded)
1/2 cup of frozen spinach, thawed in the microwave and squeezed dry
2 links of hot italian sausage
Any other veggies you have on hand, finely diced
6 slices of prosciutto
2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 450F
Noodles: Set a pot of water to boil. Add salt and a little bit of olive oil. Add the lasagna noodles and boil until they're no longer firm (7 minutes or so). Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet so they don't stick together.
Bechamel: While the noodles are boiling, make the bechamel sauce by melting butter over medium low heat. Whisk in the 2 teaspoons of flour and whisk continuously for two minutes. Add the milk and turn heat up to medium high. Whisk the bechamel until it begins to simmer and thickens. Take off heat and add salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Filling: Take the italian sausage out of the casing and sautee. When there's almost no pink visible, add whatever veggies you had on hand (I added some finely diced zucchini but you can also add some mushrooms or peppers or whatever you have). Sautee a few minutes more and take off heat. Mix the 3/4 cup ricotta, thawed spinach, the mozzarella (leave some for sprinkling on top later), and the sausage and veggie mix. The hot sausage should melt the cheese a little binding the mixture. If not, you can add an egg in there but I usually don't. You can also add whatever spices you want to the filling.
Assembly: Pour the bechamel sauce into the bottom of a 9*9 inch glass dish. Take a lasagna noodle and spread some of the 1/3 cup of ricotta on one side. Add a slice of prosciutto and then place a heaping tablespoon of the filling towards one side of the noodle. Roll up and place seam-side down into the glass dish. Continue with the rest of the noodles. Top of the marinara sauce (I like TJ's Rustico sauce), sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and add some shredded Parmesan on top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until the sauce bubbles. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese on top is golden. Remove from the oven, let stand a few minutes and serve.
This is what happens to my leftover filling:
I fry it in a tiny pan like a pancake!