Overall, we try to stay away from overly complicated recipes. If there are too many steps or too many ingredients we tend to skip right over it. Neither Kelly nor I have the patience for multi-step recipes. But, more importantly, our photographer does not appreciate spending more than 15 minutes working on one recipe. Complicated, time consuming recipes typically result in Cliff yelling at us to “hurry up, we are losing light!” Inevitably, this results in us rushing and a subpar dish. Now, if you don’t know us in real life you may think we have it all together. We try not to have stacks of dirty dishes in the background of our pictures. We rarely write about the fighting that goes on in our kitchen. And we certainly don’t share with you our recipe disasters. Believe me though, there are mounds of dishes piled up all over the kitchen. There are many afternoons ending with someone not speaking to someone else and we have more recipe disasters then I care to remember.
All this to say, we have a complicated, multi-step recipe for you today. It may be complicated but it is definitely not subpar. Sometimes, (rarely) complicated recipes are worth the work. This is one of them. I saw this in an issue of Food Network Magazine and I knew right away it was something that I’d like. But, there were so many steps. Wahhhhhh. In fact there were so many steps that I didn’t even have the attention span to actually read them ahead of time. I barely made it through the ingredient list. So, even though I knew that we would all enjoy this I knew that parts would need to be cut out. So, this is our slightly adapted (easier) version of that recipe. And guess what? It was still chaos in our kitchen! We skipped the mushrooms, roasted the cauliflower, and turned this into lasagna rolls rather than a lasagna. But the results were worth it. We all really liked this recipe! In fact, I plan to make it again. Soon.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 28 ounce cans of whole san marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoons honey
Cauliflower Mornay Sauce
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
4-5 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup grated romano cheese
16 lasagna noodles
1 pound ricotta cheese
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated romano cheese
1 ¼ cups grated fontina cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Spread them on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes or until brown but not burnt. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F.
While the cauliflower is cooking, start the sauce. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and the tomatoes. Add the pepper, parsley, basil, and honey. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully blend with an immersion blender.
Once the cauliflower is done begin the mornay sauce. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a boil. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Return to medium heat and add the nutmeg, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 additional minute. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in the last cup of milk.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. I cook about 4-5 noodles at a time. As the noodles are done lay them on a piece of wax paper.
While the noodles are cooking make the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, parsley, romano cheese, and ground pepper. Mix well.
Now for the assembly. (Finally) Spread about ½ cup of tomato sauce on a 9 x 13 baking dish. Do the same with the mornay sauce. Take your first noodle and spread about 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce along the length of each noodle. Do the same with the mornay sauce. Add another 2 -3 tablespoons of ricotta filling along the noodle. Roll up the noodle and transfer to the baking dish. Place seam side down. Continue with the remaining ingredients. Top with additional mornay sauce and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the fontina cheese and bake for 40 minutes. You should have extra sauce to serve on the side or for an additional meal. The sauce freezes well.
Note: this can absolutely be done spread across a few days. If you already have sauce made, you can use that. Or make the sauce a few days ahead of time. You can roast the cauliflower ahead of time and you can make the cheese filling a couple days ahead of time. This is a very time consuming recipe but we thought the end result was more than worth it. It would definitely save you some frustration if the sauce is made ahead of time though. As I said, we chose to make lasagna rolls instead of a traditional lasagna but you could easily make this into a lasagna if you prefer.
Source: Food Network Magazine