Spicy sausage lasagna rolls are an easy recipe full of comfort food flavor without a ton of work (or too many leftovers). Spicy Italian sausage, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and fresh basil are rolled in boiled lasagna noodles and topped with your favorite marinara sauce and more cheese for a weeknight-ready meal.
Sometimes you just need to make yourself comfort food, even if it’s closing in on 100°F outside. Nashville decided to heat itself up big time just in time for the tens of thousands of people descending on the city for CMA fest last week (and a little further away in the state for Bonnaroo). While I’m an office dweller on the weekdays in that awkward, always-a-little-too-cold air conditioning, walking around downtown in the heat at various points in the day just about took it out of me. Throw in crazier traffic than normal on my commute home each night, and all I wanted was comfort! Whether in the form of sweatpants, a solid dinner, the couch, or wine.
(And when I say ‘or’ I really mean ‘and’).
When it comes to a comforting meal I always think of Italian food. Italian meals tend to be hearty, cheesy, carb-y, and meat-y. All adjective I can get behind. Lasagna sounded incredible after a long day, but when I think about lasagna, I always think about a huge tray of lasagna. While the two of us can certainly put away a good amount of lasagna, we’re moving in a few days (!!!) and the typically awesome quality found in large-serving meals of stocking the freezer with leftovers wasn’t welcome this time. This recipe for spicy sausage lasagna rolls yields about 4-5 servings, so just enough to get your comfort food fix without seriously contemplating moving with leftover servings of lasagna on ice packs.
There are a ton of lasagna recipes out there so feel free to incorporate your favorite tips, tricks, and ingredients, but I wanted to keep these spicy sausage lasagna rolls on the simpler side to keep this dish friendly for weeknights. For one, I used a pretty well-seasoned store-bought tomato sauce to cut down on the steps for measuring out little quantities of dried herbs like parsley, oregano, etc. And to be honest, I’ve even omitted the ricotta cheese if I was out and couldn’t possibly bring myself to leave the house after work to run to the store. Still delicious! And a bit lighter, so there’s that going for it.
If you’re a serious heat fanatic, I’d say stir in crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce if hot Italian sausage isn’t enough for you (as that’s where all the spice is coming from here). Or use mild Italian sausage if spice isn’t your thing.
- 1 lb. (16 oz) package of ground hot Italian sausage
- 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 2 cups marinara sauce, divided
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for serving
- Add sausage to a large saucepan and set over medium heat. As the bottom of the sausage begins to brown, break up sausage into smaller pieces. Continue to turn crumbles over to ensure all sides brown. Cook until sausage crumbles have browned completely and no pink remains. Drain off extra grease and set aside.
- As the sausage is browning, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and boil for 8 minutes (or according to package directions). Meanwhile, spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside for placing the noodles on once boiled (or you can use a big piece of foil). Once noodles are to your preferred doneness, drain and lay noodles in a single layer on greased baking sheet (or foil), until sausage has finished browning.
- Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with cooking spray and spread about 1/4 cup of marinara sauce evenly on the bottom. Set aside.
- To each of the nine lasagna noodles, add equal amounts of ricotta cheese, 6 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese, sausage crumbles, and basil along the length of the noodle, leaving a little bit of buffer space around the edges. Meanwhile, you'll want to turn on the oven at this point and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Roll each noodle as tightly as you can (from the short side) and place seam side down in the baking dish. If some filling falls out in the rolling process, just tuck it back in once the rolls are in the pan. Place lasagna rolls close together in the pan to help keep them in place.
- Once all rolls are in the dish, pour remaining 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce evenly over top and sprinkle remaining 2 oz of shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for 15 or so minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the lasagna rolls are heated throughout. Serve with extra chopped basil over top if you like.
You can use mild Italian sausage if you don't want this dish to be spicy. OR if you can only find mild sausage and you like spicy, add crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce to fit your tastes.