It's asparagus season! Here's a lighter take on traditional lasagna that's easy to make and perfect for spring. This recipe combines the fresh green flavors of asparagus with the tangy sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy ricotta filling, then rolled in individual spirals that make for a pretty plate. Yummm! Faster to bake, easier to serve and always a crowd pleaser. Freeze the left over rolls for a quick weeknight dinner later on.
Lasagna Roll Ups with Asparagus & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Recipe by: Tanya Miller
Serves: 4-6 for a main or we recommend one roll per person as a side
9-12 lasagna noodles (depending on pan size)
8.5 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 ½ c fresh basil leaves, packed
½ c + ¾ c Parmesan, grated
large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 lb pancetta, chopped into approx ½ cm cubes (we love Trader Joe’s pre-cubed pancetta)
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 bunches asparagus (2-3 per roll up depending on size)
bunch of kale, finely chopped
15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1 c heavy cream
4-6 oz goat cheese (depending on preference), room temp
1 t salt
½ t black pepper, freshly ground
1 t + 1 T olive oil, divided
olive oil for noodles
3 T reserved pasta water
In a food processor, add the sun-dried tomatoes, 1-2 cloves of garlic and basil. Process until pesto consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in ½ c Parmesan cheese.
In a glass measuring jar, add heavy cream, goat cheese and one clove of minced garlic. Microwave for about 30 seconds, whisk to combine. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 t olive oil and the pasta. Cook until tender, but still firm to the bite. Stir occasionally to help prevent sticking, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place lasagna noodles on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Drizzle each noodle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
While noodles cook, slice asparagus to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Leave 2 to 3 inches of the tips to roll up in each noodle.
In a large oven-safe skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon. Add 1 T olive oil to the same pan. Then add shallot, asparagus and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chopped kale, and cook an additional 4 minutes. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the sun dried tomato pesto and add ricotta, pancetta, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Drizzle pan with olive oil and spoon about 1/4 of the pesto and vegetable mixture into pan. Add the reserved pasta water and stir to combine.
Place lasagna noodle on clean surface and scoop 1/3 c of the remaining mixture onto the pasta. Spread evenly leaving one inch with no filling. Add 2 to 3 asparagus tips and roll up. Seal end with a touch of water. Add roll up to the same pan and repeat process. Ideally place each roll up against the seam of the previous one to help with stability. Spoon heavy cream and goat cheese mixture over the top of each roll up. Sprinkle tops with remaining Parmesan.
Bake at 350°, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake until the top is light golden brown about 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired, serve and enjoy!
Pesto can be made the day before
Lasagna can be prepared in the morning and then refrigerated. Take out and let sit 1 hour before baking.
Short on time? Try your favorite store bought sun-dried tomato pesto!