Ragu® Homestyle Sausage Involtini ~ the easy way to make a great family meal.
Want to know what I love about Italians? The fact that family (famiglia as they say in Italian), food and faith are everything to them. Italian families seem closely knit and extremely loyal to one another and their food is nothing short of amazing.
My mother was an extremely good cook who would have been deemed the "Polish Queen of Italian Cuisine". From her slow simmered sauce made with Roma tomatoes, tomato puree and Italian spices to the dishes she put together with that sauce (lasagna, manicotti and eggplant Parmesan for example) ~ it was all good. Two of my first cousins married into Italian families and I was brought into a whole other world of family and food through my experiences with them. Then later in an all girls high school that was chock full of gals whose last names ended in a vowel, I got to see another side of the Italian family. Brothers who acted like strict fathers with their sisters so you better never mess with them and if you want to date, well it would be best if they knew you were from a good Italian family!
What else I love about the whole of Italian culture is the language and the names of the Italian dishes. How can you not love the sound of "cacciatore", "involtini" "braciole" or "foccacia"? It all sounds so romantic doesn't it?
For years I've made my own slow simmered sauce just like my mother did and always found it tasted much better after it had time to rest. But when my kids were small and I was working full time I sometimes would rely on a jarred sauce from the grocery store. Most of them needed a little bit of "doctoring" to satisfy me. Recently I discovered our store carries a line of Ragu® Homestyle sauces and decided to give it a try. The fact that I am not working outside the home doesn't in any way diminish that I love taking the quick and easy way to a good dinner for my husband and me.
All that brings me to one of my favorite Italian dishes which I decided to make for this post. For my husband and me, a whole lasagna is just too much food. Making involtini with a great filling and using a slow simmered sauce is my preference these days. That way you make basically just what you need for one meal.
To me involtini are easier to make. I find that once the noodles are cooked and the sausage is cooked, they are quick to assemble and take very little oven time. Perfect for small families or couples. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you can bake this in your toaster oven. During the heat of the summer who wants to turn on their large oven when the temperature is hitting ninety, right? So before you opt for take out pizza, discover the ease, convenience and flavor of the Ragu® Homestyle line of sauces and make this great meal for your loved ones.
- 2-3 sweet Italian sausage links - removed from the casings
- Ragu® Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce
- 6 lasagne noodles
- 4-6 oz. mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- pinch red pepper flakes
- olive oil
- cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 350°.
- Cook your lasagna noodles to package directions. Rinse and cool slightly. Lay them out flat.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add in just a touch of olive oil. Swirl the oil around the pan and add in the sausage and a pinch of the red pepper flakes and break down and cook the sausage completely.
- To the sausage, add in about 1/2 cup of sauce and the Parmesan cheese. Stir.
- Lay out the lasagna noodles and add the sausage mixture down the center of each noodle. Add some shredded mozzarella on top of the sausage mixture. Roll up jelly style.
- Spray your baking dish with cooking spray and add a little bit of the sauce on the bottom. Spread the sauce out.
- Add in the involtini and cover with remaining sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.
- Optional: sprinkle the mozzarella with some dried basil, oregano and parsley.
- Cover with foil (loosely) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 10 minutes more until the cheese is oozy melted and the sauce is nice and bubbly.
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 6 involtini
Cooking tips: If the sausage is not broken down enough, add it to your food processor and pulse a couple of times.
For added flavor top the mozzarella with a bit of Italian spices.
When I took the involtini out of the oven, the smell was just so intoxicating! Using the Italian phrase, "my hand to God" ~ this tastes so good.
Like my mother's slow simmered sauce, Ragu does not take short cuts when making theirs. There are no artificial colors, flavors or high fructose corn syrup in their product. Just good old fashioned, traditional Italian slow simmered sauce! You can visit and find out more about their products here.