These Meaty Lasagna Roll-Ups are stuffed with a creamy ricotta mixture and a deliciously easy homemade meat sauce. This is a great make-ahead and freeze dish!
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I’m sharing the most recent pasta creation to come out of my kitchen with you all today, and friends, these Meaty Lasagna Roll-Ups are incredible. I’ve made two batches over the past couple of weeks and both were happily and quickly consumed.
The basis for this recipe is a slightly meatier version of my Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. This sauce is one of those wonderful base recipes that allows you to create a number of totally different dishes. There are so many delicious things you can do with it but I think these roll-ups may be my favorite.
As written, the sauce recipe is quite substantial but to make it even more so, I added 1/2 pound ground pork (I used Jimmy Deen’s) along with the ground beef.
Cooked lasagna noodles are coated with a creamy ricotta mixture and a spoonful of the meaty sauce, rolled up and placed seam side down in a baking dish.
The remainder of the sauce is spooned over the top and the whole thing is sprinkled with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and baked until bubbly around the edges. I just love those crispy bits of Parmesan on top.
I wouldn’t consider this an easy, weeknight recipe since it does take a little time to assemble but it is SO worth it. It’s a fabulous choice for a dinner with friends or a lazy Sunday supper.
Or, make it ahead on the weekend to refrigerate or freeze for a really delicious pasta meal any day of the week. The recipe card below includes complete make-ahead and freeze instructions.
If you are a pasta fan, you will love this dish! Substantial enough to satisfy your big eaters but individual roll-ups also make portion control easy. I’m trying hard to exert some portion control as we face down the holidays.
Good luck, right? I know! But, I’m trying.
Serve it up with a big green salad and a loaf of French bread and you’ve got one delicious meal.
Meaty Lasagna Roll-Ups
Extra Meaty Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound bulk ground pork sausage
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly crushed (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano or other high quality Italian tomatoes)
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus additional for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
For the Extra Meaty Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce:
Add olive oil to a non-reactive pot or Dutch oven and place over MEDIUM heat. Add ground beef, ground pork, onion and garlic and cook, stirring to break up the meat until crumbly and browned with no pink remaining. Drain off excess grease. Stir tomato paste into the mixture and cook for a minute or two and then add basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, fennel seed and crushed red pepper (if using). Cook, stirring, until well combined. Add crushed tomatoes, beef broth and sugar and stir to combine.
Increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to LOW and allow to simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes while you cook your pasta
For the Roll-Ups:
Bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Immediately rinse cooked noodles with cold water until cool enough to handle and drain well.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the ricotta, egg, garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon enough of the Extra Meaty Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce into a 13" x 9" baking dish to lightly coat the bottom (about 1 cup). Reserve remaining sauce.
Lay one cooked noodle out on top a sheet of aluminum foil or wax paper. Spoon a couple tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on the noodle and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Spread some of the meat sauce mixture over the ricotta and roll the lasagna noodle up. Use a spatula to transfer the roll-up to the baking dish and set it down sideways, seam side down. Repeat with remaining noodles, ricotta mixture, and sauce. A standard 13" x 9" baking dish will hold 3 across if roll-ups are placed sideways. You should be able to fit all 12 roll-ups snugly in the baking dish.
Spoon the remaining sauce mixture over the top of the roll-ups and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Spray the backside of a large piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover the dish, coated side down. The non-stick spray will prevent the melted cheese from sticking to the foil.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Assemble as instructed, cover dish tightly with foil, and refrigerate overnight. Allow to sit on kitchen counter for about 15 minutes to take the chill off before baking according to the recipe directions. Cooking time may need to be increased if very cold when going into the oven.
Follow recipe as directed in a freezer safe dish and cover dish tightly with a double layer of foil. Freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator before baking as directed. To bake from frozen, increase baking time to 50 to 60 minutes covered and an additional 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.