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Guest post: Nossi Fogel of The Kosher Gastronome does Lasagna Roll-Ups

Those of you familiar with my, er, culinary exploits, know that I'm not exactly what you would call a gourmet cook.  Yes, I open a lot of cans.  That's why I'm so honored to have Baltimore's Nossi Fogel of the The Kosher Gastronome guest posting today.   If you haven't checked out his blog, you're in for a truly delicious delight.  Someday I hope to grow up and cook like this.  So without further ado, here's Chef Fogel with his delightful dairy recipe for The Nine Days, Lasagna Roll-Ups.

Hey there, I’m Nossi Fogel, and for all those who don’t know me, I am the proprietor of The Kosher Gastronome. You may be asking yourself, “hey hey hey, this isn’t fair! I’ve been conned, swindled, cheated! I came here to DailyCheapskate to find some good ol` deals, and I get this?! What kind of propaganda is this?” Well first of all, chill out, it’s really not that big a deal, and second - it’s a good thing you came, because my first passion may be food, but my second passion is being frugal! I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty cheap myself, although I’m not sure if it’s considered cheap if you just don’t have the money…hmm I dunno, we’ll have to ask the experts.

Anyway, the Nine Days are upon us, and with that comes lots of kosher restaurants advertising “celebrating” the Nine Days, by eating at those restaurants. The whole thing seems kind of weird to me. Besides, this is a blog about being frugal, right? So instead of going out, why not make a really easy supper at home. Ok! I like your enthusiasm.

Lasagnas usually require too much work to be a regular night's dinner, well at least for me, and you know how whenever you read recipes, they’re always “easy?” Well this actually is, I promise.

For all those that know me, this is the time when I usually ramble on about some random scientific fact about what we’re making, but time is a-wasting, and we’ve got some lasagna to make.

So first step is to obviously prepare the noodles as usual. I boil them for a little less time than indicated on the package instructions, because they cook more in the oven. Drain the lasagna, and line up the noodles, like so.

Then make the filling. I went for a traditional ricotta filling. And since I really like spinach, and as fate would have it, I had some spinach at home, I wilted some spinach, added it to the ricotta, along with an egg, salt and pepper, and mixed it all together.

If you’re going to use fresh spinach, "wilting" it is just the process of cooking it down to what is technically called a "big mush of spinach." To do that, heat up 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and dump in the spinach, just go ahead and stuff them all in the pan, it’s okay to literally stuff the whole thing in there. It might not look right, but it’s fine. And then cook it all down, stirring occasionally (easily done with a pair of tongs), until it looks like said "big mush of spinach." Then add some salt, and let it cool down before adding it to the ricotta mixture.

If you’re going to use frozen spinach, thaw and drain it. (Side note from Susie:  Walmart-brand canned spinach is about 60 cents a can, is "pre-wilted" and comes with a Star-K hechsher, so no checking necessary.  Not as healthy, and probably not nearly as tasty,  but I'm all about the cans.)

And then spread the mixture on the lasagna.

Now this next part is optional, but I highly recommend it. Make a bechamel sauce (pronounced BEH shah mell), and put a thin layer of it on the bottom of your dish before you put the lasagna rolls in.

To make a bechamel sauce, you first start with a roux (pronounced roo or roos plural...spelled the same), which is equal-parts-by-weight of a fat (I used butter) and flour cooked together until the mixture gets slightly darker and starts to smell nutty. Then add milk. Roux are unique, and you can continue to cook a roux until it gets really dark, and there are different dishes that actually combine different types of roux, but that’s another post.

Once the roux is done, add the milk slowly, while continuously whisking. At first it will clump up a little, but keep whisking and adding more milk, until it forms a uniform liquid. It will thicken a little, and that’s it.

(Bechamel is called “mother sauce” in French, because it is the base of a lot of dishes. One, for example is Mornay sauce, which is bechamel plus any cheese, which is how you would make awesome mac n`cheese.)

Now add salt, pepper, dried mustard, and my secret ingredient – a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (the real stuff, which is really much much better than the powdered stuff…I promise).

Then spread a thin layer of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish, roll up the lasagnas, and tuck them all together in the dish.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Will it surprise you if I say grating it fresh makes a big difference? Well it does.

Cover it with some aluminum foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Then put it under the broiler for about 3 minutes, to crisp the cheese.

And that’s it.

When I served these, I felt that they needed some sauce, so I served it alongside marinara sauce.  If I would make this again, I would probably put a little marinara sauce on top of the roll ups, and put the cheese on top of that.

Whoa, now that’s up close and personal.

Well that’s all for now, but wait – like what you’ve seen?? Well there’s more of all this awesomeness, just head on over to The Kosher Gastronome, and be wowed even more.

Download a pdf version of the Lasagna Roll-Ups recipe here.


  1. Zahava8/01/2011

    Looks delicious, when i once tried to make them I didnt make a bechamel sauce and didnt look as good as this one. Thanks for the good idea!

  2. Zehava, I agree, it's a nice twist on lasagna and perfect for the Nine Days.

  3. Anonymous8/02/2011

    Wow, this looks amazing. My wife and I are trying it right now. Its always fun to try new dairy dishes out. The instructions and pics are so clear!


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