Hatch chiles are back!! Bet you weren't expecting that after seeing this picture, was it? August is a miserable month here in Texas as the heat is relentless and with the longer days...just doesn't make for a good combination. However, it is also the month I wait for in anticipation because of these precious peppers that make their way down to Texas from Hatch, New Mexico (hence the name). Unfortunately, they aren't here to stay for very long (thru September if we're lucky). I don't know about you, but all sense of self-restraint is abandoned when I hear the word "limited." Even if I don't need it or necessarily care for it, I will hoard it like there is no tomorrow...perhaps to eliminate any possibility of regret. Yes..that must be it. In any case, the Hungryman and I have been hatch chile killers as of late. I actually made this dish several weeks ago and am just now getting around to posting...I'm so on top of things ;).
How to pick the perfect pepper? Here's what I look for - it's gotta be bright green in color, symmetrical, feel heavy for its size, and the skin has to be smooth yet firm. So what do I do with the ridiculous amount of chiles I end up purchasing throughout the season? Roast and freeze them of course! The Pioneer Woman has great step-by-step instructions on how to do this. When packing them in a freezer bag, I like to put just a few in each bag, being sure to let all the air out, and lay them flat in the freezer. Now you can enjoy them all year round! Not really the case in my household as they all seem to disappear before October.
While I normally go southwestern when adding them to dishes (like these hatch chile chicken burgers), I decided to try something different... shake things up a bit (no pun intended ;)). The Hungryman
demanded requested lasagna so I thought I would just throw the chiles in since I have so many on hand. I contemplated whether or not I should make a Mexican lasagna with the usual flavors of cumin, corn, cilantro, lime, etc, but I really wanted Italian food (specifically ricotta..which I can eat by the spoonful). So here it is..Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups with hatch chiles!
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly on cooked noodles and roll carefully! So much more fun than stacking in layers :).
At this point, the Hungryman really wanted to just pick one up with his fingers. I had to snap photos with lightning speed before he left his mark. When he saw a window of opportunity, he quickly devoured a roll up and eagerly asked for seconds. He said he really liked it even though it lacked any kind of meat. Coming from a carnivore like the Hungryman, it was like music to my ears.
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion diced
- 6 oz. portobello mushroom diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach thawed and completely drained (you can also use fresh)
- ¼ cup finely chopped roasted hatch chiles about 2
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna in salted water and cook to al dente. Drain and lay the lasagna noodles out flat on a baking sheet or a flat surface. Cool.
- Vegetables: Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook about 4-5 min, or until softened and fragrant. Add mushroom, red bell pepper, spinach, roasted hatch chile and cook, stirring often, until spinach is wilted, approx 4-5 min. Transfer to a bowl.
- Filling: Combine ricotta, 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, spinach mixture in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
- Assembly: Spray 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line bottom with ½ cup of marinara sauce. Take ⅓ cup of filling and spread evenly over noodle. Carefully roll and place seam side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Top rolled noodles with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 min. Remove foil and bake for additional 5 min, or until cheese is melted on the top. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Calories: 464 * Total Fat: 17.8g * Saturated Fat: 9.2g * Cholesterol: 71mg * Sodium 691mg * Total Carbs: 48.5g * Fiber: 5.5g * Sugars: 9.6g * Protein: 28.2g
HHave you had hatch chiles before? If so, what are you favorite ways to enjoy them