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.
Spicy Sausage Lasagna Rolls
- 16 oz hot Italian sausage, ground
- 9 oz fresh spinach
- 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1 egg
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 24 oz marinara sauce divided
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, to serve
- Add sausage to a large pan and set over medium heat. Break up sausage into crumbles and cook, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked and no pink remains. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess grease and wipe out pan to use again.
- Set the now-empty pan over low-medium heat and pour in about 1/4 cup water. Add in as much spinach as can fit in the pan and cover, stirring everything up and adding more spinach as room frees up. Cook until spinach wilts, then transfer spinach to a colander lined with paper towels. Let spinach drain, then press out as much of the excess liquid as you can. Set aside for now.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add lasagna noodles and boil according to package directions* (see note below).
- Meanwhile spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray (mine are 13"x17" and fit 6 noodles on each). You may also use sprayed sheets of aluminum foil as your lasagna roll assembly surface. Once noodles are to your preferred doneness, drain and lay noodles in a single layer on greased baking sheet (or foil).
- Add egg to a mixing bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Add cooked and crumbled sausage, spinach, ricotta, Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan), salt, and pepper and stir until everything is combined evenly.
- Spray an 8"x10" (or similarly sized) baking dish with cooking spray and spread 3/4 cup of marinara sauce evenly on the bottom. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a cookie scoop (or two spoons), add about 1/4 cup total of the ricotta mixture over top of each noodle in dollops. Spread the mixture into an even layer on each noodle,
- Roll each noodle as tightly as you can (from the short side) without squishing the filling out of the sides and place each lasagna roll seam-side down in the baking dish. Place lasagna rolls close together in the pan to help keep them in place.
- Once all rolls are in the dish, pour remaining marinara sauce evenly over top and top with mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil, spraying the bottom side of the foil with cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese has melted. Top with chopped basil for serving.