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Three Many Cooks: Pinwheel Lasagna
Three Many Cooks: Pinwheel Lasagna: A tasty twist on traditional lasagna.
Spinach-Ricotta Pinwheel Lasagna with Simple Tomato Sauce. Photo by Renee Comet for USA WEEKEND; Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky

Pamís Tips

Soaking the no-bake variety of lasagna noodles in salted hot water eliminates the messy, time-consuming step of boiling traditional noodles.

The no-boil noodles start to stick together as they dry, but donít worry, they pull apart easily.

Heating the garlic with the oil means you never run the risk of burning it.

Working with a quarter of the filling and lasagna noodles at a time makes it easier to judge quantities.

More

When serving a crowd, lasagna often springs to mind, but I often dismiss it because I want to wow my guests, and a slab of lasagna isnít all that attractive.

By halving no-bake lasagna noodles lengthwise and rolling a little filling in each strip, this dish morphs from functional to fun. Servingís easier, too!

Spinach-Ricotta Pinwheel Lasagna

12 ripple-style oven-ready lasagna noodles
8 garlic cloves, minced, divided
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
2 tsps. dried basil leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups part-skim ricotta
ĺ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded fontinella (or fontina) cheese

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Add lasagna noodles to 2 quarts of piping hot salted tap water in the 13- by 9-inch baking dish for the lasagna. Soak until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain, stack and halve lengthwise to create 24 strips.

Meanwhile, add 5 garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons oil to a Dutch oven; turn burner to medium-high. When garlic starts to sizzle, add tomatoes and enough water (Ĺ cup or so) for a sauce that is neither gloppy nor thin. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put basil and remaining 3 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When garlic sizzles, add spinach; sautť until warm, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in ricotta and Ĺ cup Parmesan; adjust seasonings.

To assemble, spread 2 cups tomato sauce in the 13- by 9-inch dish. Working 6 noodles at a time, spread a generous 2 tablespoons of spinach filling on each lasagna strip. Roll up lengthwise to create a pinwheel shape. Place in prepared pan. Repeat to make 4 rows of 6 noodles. Drizzle remaining 2 cups sauce over dish, sprinkle with fontinella and remaining ľ cup of Parmesan. Cover with a cooking-spray-coated sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake until bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove foil, and, leaving pan on upper-middle rack, broil until golden, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let rest 5 minutes. Serve with remaining warm tomato sauce.

Serves: 8

Per serving: 393 calories, 41g carbohydrates, 22g protein, 17g fat (8g saturated), 47mg cholesterol, 6g dietary fiber, 659mg sodium

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Contributing Editor Pam Anderson is the author of six cookbooks. Her latest is "Perfect One-Dish Dinners" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32). She blogs at threemanycooks.com.