Saturday, 23 October 2010

Shrimp and Red Pepper Lasagna Rolls with Creamy Marinara

Looking for a proposal? The dish to let that certain someone know how special they are? Or maybe you need to apologize big-time. For when you used his new golf clubs to stake your tomatoes.
Either way, this dish will soften the hardest of hearts with its warm embrace of fresh pasta, shrimp, and glorious cheese.
Instead of traditional layers, this lasagna is rolled up so each person gets their very own personal lasagna roll. And its a little piece of heaven on a plate. Especially if you pair it with a nice Caesar salad and a bottle of vino or two.

Shrimp and Red Pepper Lasagna Rolls with Creamy Marinara
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, for IHCC Potluck

    *1 pound lasagna*
    *3 tablespoons olive oil
    *1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut into halves or quarters if very large
    *2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
    *Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    *6 garlic cloves, chopped
    *2 (15 ounce) containers whole-milk ricotta cheese*
    *½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    *2 eggs, lightly beaten
    *¼ cup chopped basil
    *¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    *3 cups marinara sauce*
    *1½ cups grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still firm to a bite, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile , heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp and peppers with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, peppers, and the garlic to the pan and sauté until the shrimp are cooked, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool. Place in a large bowl with 2 cups of the ricotta, the parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, ¾ tsp. salt, , ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.
In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce with the remaining 1 cup ricotta cheese and stir to combine.
To make lasagna, cover the bottom of a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara mixture. Lay four noodles flat on a dry work surface. Spread about ¼ cup of the shrimp mixture over each noodle. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish . Repeat twice more to make 12 rolls. Drizzle the rolls with the remaining marinara mixture and top with grated mozzarella . Bake until the lasagna rolls are heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

Basic Marinara Sauce
make a half batch for this lasagna recipe, or freeze half

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be made one day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Fresh Pasta
makes 1 lb, enough for this recipe

2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp olive oil

Place flour in the bowl of a large food processor. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt, herbs and olive oil to the eggs and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture to the food processor with the flour and pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides once or twice. Continue, with the machine running, until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers. Some of the dough will be clumping together, but it will not form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough into a ball and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before rolling.

*Homemade Ricotta
I just put one bag of milk into my small slow cooker and add in my wired thermometer. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and have the alarm beep when it gets to 185°F. Add in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. (Vinegar works too but lemon juice is nicer for sweeter applications) Stir with a whisk and let curdle for about 5 minutes, stirring once in a while. Strain over a bowl in a colander lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or else a super-fine mesh strainer. The longer you strain, the drier the cheese will end up being. Store in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days.
The higher the fat in the milk = the higher the yield of cheese.

You'll need 2 bags for this recipe.