Just about everyone loves lasagna… don’t they? Well, it’s always been one of my favorites and I’ve noticed that when I go out to an Italian restaurant, my dinner companion(s) seem to choose lasagna from the menu more than any other dish. Lasagna is a comfort food in my book. Let’s be honest. Anything with noodles and cheese is a comfort food 🙂
Lasagna is also a great dish to make ahead when you are expecting dinner guests. But… I think it’s becoming too ordinary. Yes, it’s yummilicious. But it also seems to be a consistent go-to entree for company. I thought it was time to do something a little unexpected while keeping the traditional flavor of lasagna so I came up with a new twist that I’m super happy about! I combined my love for lasagne with my love for pretty swirly things and came up with Lasagna Pinwheels. Now I can serve a favorite meal but in a new way so it doesn’t seem so ordinary.
I love to cook chicken in marinara sauce so my version is made with chicken. But you can change this up by using Italian sausage, ground beef, short ribs, pork, ground turkey, etc. Or you can make it with just veggies. Make your tummy happy by using whatever ingredients make you (and your tummy) smile.
Wait till you see the delighted reaction of your guests when they see your unexpected, and quite spectacular presentation. They will think you worked much harder than you really did. Actually, this takes less time to make than traditional lasagna! Happy swirling!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken cut into bite-size pieces (breasts or thighs or combination of both)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- dash of cinnamon
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box lasagna noodles (see note below)
- 15 ounce container low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- dash nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
(NOTE: I used an 8-ounce box of whole wheat lasagne noodles. This made eight pinwheels. If you use a 16-ounce box of regular lasagne noodles you will have approximately 10-12 pinwheels depending on the brand of noodles you purchase.)
Add olive oil and butter to a large, heavy skillet and place over medium heat. When butter has melted, increase heat to medium-high. When skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until chicken is browned on all sides. This will just take a few minutes. You don’t need to cook the chicken, just brown it. Add the garlic and continue to cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
While sauce is simmering, boil the noodles. You want to cook them for a minute less than called for on the box. Drain, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, and lay each noodle flat on a towel to dry.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmesan, nutmeg, egg, one cup of the shredded Mozzarella and the salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon enough of the sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish to cover.
Lay a noodle in front of you and spread about a heaping 1/3 of a cup of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodle (like you are frosting it). Beginning with one end, roll the noodle into a spiral. Place the spiral, seam side down, in the baking dish. Continue with remaining noodles and filling.
Spoon remaining sauce over and around the noodles.
(If making the day ahead of serving, stop at this point and cover with foil and store in the refrigerator.)
Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of shredded mozzarella over the pinwheels. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden around the edges.