Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sausage Roll-ups

Years ago a friend gave me a wonderful recipe—sausage roll-ups. Not only did it instantly become a family favorite, it was incredibly quick and easy to make. Here it is:

1 lb kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut into 6 sections
3 slices mozzarella cheese
6 lasagna noodles, cooked according to directions, and cooled
1 jar favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
Parmesan cheese

Spoon pasta sauce into a square baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Slit each sausage section, lengthwise and halfway through, and place 1/2 slice of mozzarella cheese folded in half into each slit. Wrap cooked lasagna noodle around each sausage and cheese section. Place each sausage roll-up on top of pasta sauce. Pour remaining pasta sauce over all six sausage roll-ups, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. See? Easy!

But I'm never one to let things be. I always feel the need to experiment and improve things. Well, it's either that or I just don't like to follow recipes. Instead, I'm always adding a bit of this and a dash of that. And if something happens to turn out extremely well and everyone requests I make it again, maybe I can come fairly close. But duplicate it? Never! Many times I'm not even quite sure what all I put in it. So I'm afraid I usually have to say, "Enjoy it now because it will probably never come round again."

Anyway, back to the sausage roll-ups. I love fresh Italian sausage that has simmered all day long in pasta sauce. So I thought, "Wouldn't that sausage roll-up recipe be oh so much better with fresh, simmered-all-day-long Italian sausages instead of smoked sausages?" Well, of course it would! And this recipe variation is actually reproducible! You're only switching out the sausages. All else is the same. The easiest way I've found to do this is to pan-sear, and then slowly cook the Italian sausages in a crock pot all day long the day before I want to make sausage roll-ups, popping them in the frig overnight. That way it's a snap to put them together the next day.

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