Giada De Lorentiis once said, “Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat” and I agree. I believe nothing is bad for you until and unless you are having it in controlled proportions and I have personally experienced this; when you eat less than your hunger, your body learns to utilize those carbs and calories you’ve just had. Also, ofcourse, stating the obvious, without exercise you cannot magically shed weight, not even when you are starving yourself. I have never understood such a life, where you can’t enjoy the variations of flavours and infusion of spices and different ingredients, making up a whole scrumptious world of it’s own. I like to enjoy my food, without anyone pointing out how many calories it has, I can always run an extra mile the next morning but please let me devour my food in peace and happiness. I remember reading a quote last week which said, “never be over critical about your fitness and health, that too is a sickness”. So, my advice, eat in small portions and exercise, but eat with no guilt.
These Lasagna Wraps are perfect for when it comes to portion control. The dish is basically another take on my Lasagna Cannelloni but has a different filling, basically, Italy meets South-Asia. Each Lasagna sheet is wrapped around a scrumptious filling topped with sauce and cheese and one portion is enough to satiate your carb cravings. It is packed loaded with flavours, the tang of the basil sauce infused with smoked paprika and paired with the hotness of the red chilli flakes and the coating the filling and the plain yet subtle flavour from the Riccota cheese on top spread out with the sharp crunch of onions. When you take a bite, your taste buds take you through each flavour one by one and because it’s pasta afterall, it’s an appetizing delight.
The dish is perfect for brunch. Though, it may seem as a complicated dish but it’s really the easiest and the fastest dish you will cook up for a meal. The dish is cooked in three parts; the preparation of the filling, which can be vegan or non-veg, be as creative with the filling as you may wish i.e. ricotta spinach filling, jalapeno popper filling, taco, Fajita, broccoli and mushroom, mince meat or chicken cubes, the creativity would be endless. I made this with chicken cubes and added a little hotness to it which blends perfectly with ricotta. Having said that, if you reqlly want to ger into the spirit of the dish, go right ahead and use Cheddar or Mozerella. Second, the sauce is prepared by blitzing up all the ingredients in a blender and just throwing it into a saucepan and reducing it down. Third, boiling the Lasagna sheets. The flavours that are hence concocted are piquant and exciting.
Marcus Samuellson was absolutely right when he said, “Pasta isn’t just Italian food anymore. Now there are tasty pasta dishes in Asian Cuisines, and it’s emerging as a new found love” and if you indulge yourself with ‘pasta alla Asia’, you will never be disappointed.
So, pick up a fork and revel in the Asian flavours of this gorgeous dish because afterall, life is all about Lasagna and not being the ‘G’ in it.
8-10 – Boiled Lasagna sheets
Chicken Filling ~
500g — Chicken cubes cut into 1 inch. size
1 tbsp – Mustard Paste
1 tsp – Ginger and Garlic Paste
1 tsp – Red Chilli Flakes
1/2 tsp – Salt
1 tbsp – Oil
3/4 cup – Chopped Tomatoes (tin can)
4-5 – Basil leaves
1/2 – Green/Red Bell Pepper
1/2 – Green Chilli
1 clove – Garlic
4 – Olives
1/2 tsp – Salt
1 tsp – Smoked Paprika (optional but recommended)
1/2 tsp – white pepper
1 tsp – Oregano
1 tbsp – Honey
1 tbsp – Ketchup
1 tsp – Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp – Oil
250g – Ricotta Cheese/Cottage Cheese
2 – Red Onions diced
4 tbsp – Mayonnaise
1 cup – Mushrooms saute’ d
Basil for garnish
- Marinade the Chicken cubes with salt, red chilli flakes, mustard paste and ginger garlic paste for 15 minutes.
- Heat 1 tbsp of Oil in a fry pan and fry the chicken cubes until all water evaporates and the meat is cooked through. Keep aside.
- In the same fry pan, saute the mushrooms until golden brown.
- In a blender, blitz together, tomatoes, bell pepper, basil, green chilli, garlic clove and olives.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan and pour the blended sauce in.
- Add, salt, white pepper, ketchup, smoked paprika, Worcestershire Sauce and honey.
- Add a 1/4 cup of water and let it cook down until the sauce becomes fairly thick. Set aside.
- In a wide cooking pot, boil the water with a little salt and oil. Once boiling, add the Lasagna sheets and boil according to packet instructions.
- Meantime while the Lasagna is boiling, pre-heat the oven at 160C.
- Drain the water and place the Lasagna sheets separately on a clean chopping board.
- Take a large rectangular Pyrex dish or any other and assemble the dish by spreading mayonnaise at the bottom and pouring half of the sauce on top.
- Place the chicken filling on one side of the Lasagna sheet and gently fold it.
- Place it seam side down on the sauce. Repeat the same with all other until the dish is completely full.
- Spread the remaining half of the sauce on top.
- Now spread the sauteed mushrooms on top along with half of the diced red onions.
- Mix the Ricotta cheese (or if you are looking for a less-fat cheese use cottage cheese) and spread it on top.
- Place the dish in the oven for 6-8 minutes to heat up.
- Garnish with basil leaves and the remaining half of the red onions sliced and serve.
Happy Foodieating —
** Check out another version I made – Lasagna Cannelloni **