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Recipe for Lasagna Roll-ups with Wild Alaska Mushroom Marinara

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Hello Anchorage food lovers!

I was flattered when Anchorage Food Mosaic asked me to do a guest post.

Cooking and eating are two of my favorite activities and I love to share my recipes and dishes with my family, friends and pretty much anyone who appears interested.

Most of my cherished family memories revolve around the kitchen.

We are sausage stuffers, salmon smokers, mushroom foragers and fruit preservers.

One of my fondest cooking memories was when my dad would make a vat of marinara sauce to last us several months once jarred and frozen.

My sister and I would wait anxiously for my dad to tell us the sauce was ready and we’d rush up to the stove with tiny drinking glasses. He’d fill our glasses and we’d sip the sauce like soup, trying not to burn our mouths from impatience.

Often my dad would add boletus mushrooms to the sauce that we’d picked in summer and preserved. The wild mushrooms gave the sauce an earthy flavor that counteracted the tomato tang.

I wanted to share my family marinara recipe with you by including it in one of my new favorite meals: lasagna roll-ups.

You can never go wrong with lasagna, but with a family of three we often have too much left over and inevitably a slice or two will gather fuzz in the back of the fridge over time.

Lasagna roll-ups are like personal-pan pizzas.

You can customize them if you have picky eaters and you can make as many or as few as you like. One roll-up is like one slice of lasagna. They are also easier to serve than classic lasagna. There aren’t any slippery noodles to fall off of the spatula while transferring from dish to plate.

Boletus mushrooms (also known as porcini) grow abundantly in Southcentral Alaska during the summer months.

We dry ours in a dehydrator, but you can purchase bags of them at the grocery store. They are usually found in the produce section near the fresh mushrooms and yakisoba noodles. The mushrooms are optional, of course, but if you’ve never tried porcinis before, this is a great way to experiment with them.

As for the lasagna, I prefer cottage cheese to grocery store ricotta (the real stuff is out of my everyday price range), but by all means use ricotta if you prefer.

This is also the perfect way to “hide” vegetables in your kids’ dinner. With all the cheesy sauciness you really don’t notice the lasagna is stuffed with spinach. Hurrah!


Lasagna Roll-ups with Wild Alaska Mushroom Marinara

(Makes about 10 roll-ups)

Ingredients for the sauce:

2 Tbs. olive oil

½ large onion, finely chopped

½ lb. crimini, button/or baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

½ water or chicken stock

2, 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried chili peppers, or 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

2 Tbs. dried basil

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

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Ingredients:

12 regular lasagna noodles (NOT the no-boil kind)

1 egg

1 cup cottage cheese

1.5 cups grated mozzarella cheese (I prefer the grocery store kind because it has less water content)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

½ bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place porcinis in a small microwave save bowl. Add the water or chicken stock and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for one minute and let sit for five minutes. Reserve the liquid and finely chop the mushrooms.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and all of the mushrooms and cook till onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, half the mushroom liquid, chili peppers, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer until you’re ready to assemble your roll-ups.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the thawed spinach on a clean tea towel and wring out as much liquid as possible (or just use your hands).

In a medium bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, spinach, nutmeg, parsley, ¾ cup mozzarella, ½ cup Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set in fridge till ready to assemble roll-ups.

Boil the noodles according to package instructions. Line a counter with foil. When the noodles are done use tongs to gently transfer them to the counter.

Take your baking dish and line it with a cup of sauce. Set dish near your noodles. Begin assembling your roll-ups.

Spread some spinach cheese mixture on to each noodle. Spoon on some sauce. Sprinkle on some cheese. Roll up each noodle and place seam-side down in the baking dish.

Top the dish heavily with sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes before serving.

If you’re a meat-eater, consider adding browned, crumbled Italian sausage to the roll-ups.

For a chicken pesto version, check out my post on Alaska Knit Nat. (http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2013/07/chicken-pesto-lasagna-roll-ups.html)

If you’d like to learn more about Alaska boletus mushrooms, click here. (http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2013/09/alaska-guide-to-boletus-mushrooms.html)

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Natasha Price

Natasha Price, Contributor

Natasha Price was born and raised in Anchorage. She has always had a passion for making useful things, whether they are eaten, knit, sewn or randomly glued and assembled. She received her bachelor’s degree in French and journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage and spent six fulfilling years working at Skinny Raven Sports. She is currently Program Associate at Spirit of Youth and also does voice over work around town. If you’re awake at 3 a.m. and tune into KLEF 98.1 you might hear Natasha delivering public service announcements. She lives in Anchorage with her husband, Stephen, and young son, Jack. Alaska Knit Nat can be found at www.knitnatak.blogspot.com and on Instagram at #alaskaknitnat