Monday, November 21, 2011

L.A. Lasagna

A few  years ago, when The Husband and I had our little vacation in Hawaii, we ate at a little known place called Planet Hollywood.  We shared an entree (because we were still on a budget) and after knocking each other's forks away so we could get more of the goodness, we decided we'd better find a way to recreate this dish at home.  May I introduce you to L.A. Lasagna.

These are like yummy Italian egg rolls disguised as lasagna.  Inside is a mixture of sausage, onions, ricotta, mozzarella, and yummy seasonings.  Then it gets rolled up, dipped in a tempura batter, coated in panko breadcrumbs and then fried to a golden brown.  By using marinara sauce as a dipper, you get one amazing entree, with plenty to go around.  Let's get started.

Meat Filling:

2 Tbsp oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced fine
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups  tomato sauce
1 cup tomato puree
4 oz Parmesan cheese
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.  Add in meat and cook until meat is browned.  Break up meat so it is nice and fine.  Drain off any grease.  Return meat to pan and add tomato puree, tomato sauce, seasonings and herbs.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add Parmesan cheese and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  Refrigerate mixture until it is cool (about 2 hours).  Stir in breadcrumbs.  Set aside.

Cheese Filling
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  Set aside.

Additional ingredients:
1-2 packages of egg roll wrappers
4-5 cups of prepared tempura batter
4 cups Panko bread crumbs (Do not substitute other breadcrumbs for this step.  It must be Panko!)
egg wash (1 egg plus 1 Tbsp water)
Vegetable oil (enough to deep fry in)
2-3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce


1.  Take one sheet of your egg roll wrapper and position it on your counter top.  Spread some meat filling evenly across the sheet, leaving 1/2 inch around the edges.  Using your fingers, spread some of the ricotta mixture across the center of the sheet (about 1-2 Tbsp).  Brush the edges of your sheet with the egg wash, then roll up the egg roll like a taquito, leaving the edges open.  The egg wash should seal it closed when done rolling.  Repeat with additional ingredients until you have a lot of 'egg rolls' ready for the next step.  (Don't stack on top of each other or you will end up with them sticking to each other and tearing.)

(Tip:  After making the first few, you get a feeling of how much filling to add, in proper amounts, to have it roll up nicely.  I've tried to adjust the recipe so you have the right amount of filling needed, but if you run out of , say, the meat mixture before you are done using the ricotta mixture, don't worry.  I do too.  Just use the remaining amount in another dish, or mix it in with some spaghetti noodles, so you don't have anything wasted.)

2.  In a bowl, season Panko breadcrumbs with a little bit of garlic salt.  Prepare your tempura batter. Make sure your oil is heated up and ready to fry (approx 350 degrees).  First, take one roll and dip it in your tempura batter, then roll it in the panko breadcrumbs until it is completely coated.  Dip each end of the roll in the tempura batter, then seal it with more breadcrumbs.  Place in hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes (turning once halfway through) until it is a nice golden brown.  (I fry about four at a time for two reasons.  1. My cooking pot isn't that big, and 2. You want your oil to maintain its temperature.)  Remove roll from oil and drain on a wire rack.  Continue cooking the remaining rolls.
3.  For presentation, cut each roll on the diagonal, and serve with marinara sauce.

If you find that you have way more lasagna rolls than you know what to do with, you can freeze them.  After you have rolled them, place them on a greased cookie sheet (side by side but not touching) in your freezer.  After about four hours, remove from sheet pan and store in a double-lined Ziploc bag.  To use after freezing, simply place them back on a cookie sheet so they aren't touching, and thaw in your fridge for 24 hours.  Then follow the remaining steps of the cooking process (Dip in tempura, then in panko, then fry until golden brown.)
The instructions may seem long, but the outcome is well worth it.  Plus, it makes a lot, so most of you would make once, eat twice.  I hope you give this a try.  We all love it, and since it's something we don't often make, it's a nice treat.

1 comment:

linda said...

You have the best recipes.. We are hosting a game night over the holidays and I just added this to our menu.