Lasagna Party Rolls with Red and White Sauce

lasagna rolls

I recently made these lasagna rolls for a holiday party that we hosted, I first thought of making a couple of trays of lasagna but I opted for this instead, individual lasagna rolls. Assembly can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight so all your prep, the mess in the kitchen is done ahead and the day of the party all you have to do is stick it into the oven.

This is so much easier to serve your guests, no cutting involved and each roll is a perfect little package that’s easy to grab and go on a buffet table.

lasagna rolls

The lasagna rolls are filled with three different cheeses mixed with fresh spinach that has been wilted down, squeezed of all liquid then chopped and added in. The rolls are placed on a bed of bechamel and topped with homemade marinara.

I have to give credit to Giada for adding the bechamel sauce, yes it’s an extra step but it really makes the rolls taste extra special, definitely party worthy!

lasagna roll prep

I used those full size catering pans, ( I get mine from Costco) they’re really sturdy and hold up very well when taking them in and out of the oven. I was able to fit 27 rolls in one pan which basically is two, 1 lb. boxes of lasagna noodles.

I always drain my ricotta overnight in a strainer, over a bowl and covered in my fridge, you’d be surprised how much liquid drains out. Draining the fresh ricotta is an important step because you don’t want a watery mixture spread onto the lasagna noodles.

Have your marinara sauce made ahead of time as well as your bechamel, I always have homemade marinara in my freezer so I just defrosted mine a couple of days ahead. In this case I also had some frozen, leftover bechamel I had made before so I defrosted it and added a little more milk to thin it out when I warmed it up, and it was perfectly fine.

So for a big party you can prep many of the components way ahead of time before actually assembling the rolls, I would never make all of the components in one day!

One other important note to remember, undercook your pasta, the pasta will finish cooking in the oven anyway, also when you take them out of the water place them single layer on a tray so they won’t stick together and pat each noodle dry before you start the actual rolling process.

lasagna rollslasagna rolls

Each time you pick up a roll you’ll be scooping up that rich white sauce that’s on the bottom which mingles so well with the marinara on top.

lasagna rolllasagna roll

I hope you consider these for your next party when needing a delicious pasta dish that’s easy to serve and eat for your guests.

These lasagna rolls were a hit at my party and I’m sure they’ll be a hit at yours!

Follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Lasagna Party Rolls with Red and White Sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 boxes of lasagna noodles, with curly edges, around 15 noodles in each box, I used Barilla brand
  • RICOTTA MIXTURE
  • 3 lb. fresh, good quality ricotta, drained overnight.
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups pecorino or parmigiano grated cheese
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese and extra for topping each roll
  • 2 small grated garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of bechamel
  • 1½ cups of chopped spinach, I used fresh spinach, (I like the taste better than frozen,) that I wilted down then squeezed of all liquid before chopping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • BECHAMEL SAUCE
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup, flour
  • 4 cups, whole milk
  • ⅓ cup grated pecorino or parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • MARINARA SAUCE
  • I had a few quarts because you want extra when your serving your rolls. I would say just make a pot of sauce ahead of time and you'll be fine, if you have some leftover it's a good thing.
  • parsley or basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare your BECHAMEL by melting butter then adding the flour and whisking vigorously so no lumps occur, pour in the milk and keep whisking until nice and smooth, as it gets hotter and starts to bubble around the edges it should thicken up and coat the back of a spoon, then shut off the heat and add the grated cheese then taste for seasoning of salt and pepper.
  2. If using a large, full size catering pan like I suggest you might need to make more because you need to have it cover the whole bottom of the pan.
  3. Your favorite homemade MARINARA sauce should be made ahead of time.
  4. Place your RICOTTA in a very large bowl, add the garlic, grated cheese, fontina, the 3 tablespoons of bechamel and before you add the beaten eggs taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper.
  5. Mix in the beaten eggs making sure it's all incorporated.
  6. Then wilt, drain, squeeze and chop your SPINACH and gently fold it into the well mixed ricotta mixture making sure it's evenly dispersed.
  7. Cook your LASAGNA NOODLES in salted boiling water with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the water to prevent the noodles from sticking together. I cooked mine for 8 minutes.
  8. Drain pasta immediately and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, place them single layer and pat them dry.
  9. ASSEMBLY
  10. Spread bechamel white sauce on the bottom of the catering pan all over from corner to corner.
  11. One by one take a lasagna noodle and spread abut 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture from top to bottom, then roll up and place seam side down into the pan on top of the white sauce.
  12. Repeat until the pan is full ( I fit 27 in a large catering pan, 3 rows of nine each).
  13. Top each roll with marinara down the middle, leaving the curly part of the noodle un-sauced.
  14. Sprinkle each with grated cheese and a quick drizzle of olive oil all over.
  15. Cover with heavy duty foil.
  16. At this point you can refrigerate and bake them off the next day which I recommend for party prepping.
  17. The next day when you're ready to bake, take them out of the fridge an hour or so ahead of time to get pan to room temp then place the covered rolls into a 400 degree oven for around 20 minutes.
  18. Remove pan from oven and take off the foil, add a little more sauce on top if need be and a tablespoon or so of fontina cheese on top of each roll.
  19. Return to the oven, uncovered until the cheese melts and curly edges get a little golden brown.
  20. Let them rest for 5 minutes and garnish with chopped parsley or basil.
  21. Have extra marinara warmed up for serving if need be.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Colleen Lutes says

    Thank you for those extra tips about draining the ricotta, using fresh spinach, and making the components ahead of time. I have used Giada’s recipe in the past, but I’m eager to try yours. You are so right about the tasty combination of bechamel and marinara. It’s unbelievably good, and the presentation is elegant. A real show stopper.
    As always, thanks for spreading the joy of Italian cooking. Happy Holidays!

  2. Sherry Dixon says

    This looks amazing! My mouth was watering just reading about it and looking at the pictures. Can’t wait to try it. Also, I never knew about draining the ricotta first. No wonder I always had sloppy lasagna. Thank you so much for the helpful tips.

  3. These look incredible! Your instructions are so clear and helpful too, thanks for that! Gotta make these ….

  4. DEFINITELY going to make this. I’ll keep you posted. By the way, your Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli with Limoncello Cream Sauce — OUTSTANDING!!!! Have made this several times. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says

    You arrived just in time. We just made over a gallon of marinara sauce and this recipe is so much better than regular lasagna. The rolls certainly make nice neat portions. I’ve been so busy I’ve just caught glimpses of what you’re up to on Instagram. You’ve been cooking up a storm!! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  6. Marie- This is one of my go-to ways to feed a crowd. It’s always a hit, and you can include vegetarians in that. I’ve never tried using the béchamel on the bottom, but it looks great. Merry Christmas amica.

  7. I made these for Christmas Eve but with homemade pasta (cooked it longer and with foil on for first half) and we all loved it. Because it was for dinner, I just added some ground Italian Sausage to the sauce (would have had a rebellion if I’d gone meatless!). Definitely a keeper! Hadn’t thought of the bechamel on the bottom but liked it. And I’ve always read to drain the ricotta but because it never looks runny, I never have—till now. You are so right—I was amazed at how much liquid came out and I’m now adjusting my manicotti and calzone recipes as well!! Thank you!

  8. Mary Ann Kiczek says

    Freeze bechamel sauce? I had no idea you could do that. Anything special I need to know?

    • Not really, just let it defrost and then when heating up you might have to thin it out with some milk like I did, but that’s it!