*Deconstructed Lasagna Skewers
From our Sundried Tomato Cooking Challenge Winner, Jeanne Schmidt of California!
I created this recipe as an appetizer for a party I recently held. They are great with a nice glass of red wine.
Deconstructed Lasagna Skewers
1 lb spicy italian sausage (about 5 links)
Olive oil for frying
1 jar Arrabiata Tomato Sauce (I like the spiciness but you can use your favorite sauce)
5 Plaid Lasagna Pugliese noodles (these noodles are critical for their festive appearance and their width)
1 package sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp each dried chopped oregano, parsley, and basil, or use 1 Tbsp fresh herbs if you have them available
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
2 package bocconcini mozzarella balls (enough to make 30 3/4 inch balls)
Fresh basil for garnish
1 1/2 c bechamel sauce (homemade, plenty of recipes on the internet) or a ready-made Alfredo will also work.
15 4 to 5 inch wooden skewers
Cut the tomatoes into pieces about the size of a quarter. Drain the bocconcini and cut them into roughly 3/4 inch pieces; place in a bowl with the sundried tomatoes, 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and the herbs and garlic to marinate for 20 - 30 minutes.
While the cheese and tomatoes are marinating, remove the sausage from its casing and shape into 1" balls. Sauté the meatballs in a little EVOO until browned on all sides. Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
If you like, both of these steps can be done up to a day ahead to intensify the flavor.
Place a pot of heavily salted water on to boil. When the water comes to a boil, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. Carefully remove them from the pot and cut each noodle lengthwise into three strips.
Drain the cheese and tomatoes (you can reserve the oil to use for dipping sauce with some balsamic vinegar later) and remove the meatballs from the sauce (ditto on the sauce, it can be saved for another use).
Skewer a lasagna noodle strip about an inch from the end of the noodle. Don't push the noodle to the end of the skewer yet; instead, thread a sun dried tomato, a mozzarella ball (trimmed to resemble the size of the meatball), and another tomato, pushing the noodle gently down the skewer as you add each item. Now skewer the lasagna noodle again, followed by a meatball, the lasagna noodle, and then repeat with the tomatoes and mozzarella and finally finish off with the end of the noodle. The noodle should now be snaked around the cheese and meatball. If the noodle is a little too short, trim the cheese slightly. Arrange the skewers on a plate and drizzle with the bechamel sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and serve warm. Buon Apetito!