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Rotolo of ricotta and spinach recipe

Rotolo of ricotta and spinach recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Cheese pasta

This is an attractive recipe to serve as a main dish, and it is equally good served as a first course, when it will provide 8 portions. Serve a fresh, crisp green salad as an accompaniment, taking advantage of the wide range of leaves and green vegetables that can be eaten raw.

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IngredientsServes: 4

  • 8 sheets fresh lasagne verde, about 170 g (6 oz) in total
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 85 g (3 oz) pancetta, chopped
  • 225 g (8 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme and oregano
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh oregano leaves to garnish
  • Red pepper sauce
  • 1 large red pepper, halved and seeded
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp sugar

MethodPrep:50min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:1hr15min

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) and grease a shallow ovenproof dish.
  2. Cook the lasagne in boiling water for 3–5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again, then lay the sheets out on a clean tea-towel, in a single layer, to dry.
  3. Drain the spinach thoroughly in a fine sieve, pressing out all the liquid with the back of a spoon.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the garlic and pancetta, and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach until thoroughly mixed, then leave to cool slightly.
  5. Stir in the ricotta, herbs, nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Divide the filling equally among the sheets of lasagne, spreading it to the edges. Roll up each sheet like a Swiss roll and place in the prepared dish.
  6. Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and sprinkle this over the rolls. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until brown and crisp.
  7. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Preheat the grill to the hottest setting and grill the pepper halves, skin side up, until blistered and blackened. Cool in a polythene bag, then peel the peppers and chop them.
  8. Heat the oil and fry the garlic and peppers for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, then gradually pour in the stock, stirring all the time. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar and seasoning to taste. Stir well. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Blend the sauce until smooth in a food processor or blender. Return the sauce to the pan and reheat it gently, stirring occasionally.
  9. Cut each rotolo diagonally into 3 slices and arrange these on plates. Pour some of the sauce around the slices and serve the remainder separately. Garnish with oregano and serve immediately.

Some more ideas

Cook 340 g (12 oz) frozen peas in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and crush them with a potato masher. Mix in 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme, and the grated zest of 1 lemon. Use this pea mixture instead of the spinach in the rotolo filling. * For a vegetarian version, simply omit the pancetta. * For a sauce of diced vegetables, fry 2 finely diced carrots with the garlic and red peppers. Add 2 diced courgettes and 2 finely chopped spring onions after 5 minutes' cooking. Do not blend the sauce, but leave it chunky.

Plus points

Not only is frozen spinach convenient and versatile, but it also retains almost 80% of its vitamin C content after 3 months of storage. This compares well to the fresh vegetable, which loses almost 50% of its vitamin C within 3 days when stored in the fridge.

Each serving provides

A, calcium * C, copper, potassium * B1, niacin, selenium

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Baked Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo

Rotolo is a lessor known Italian pasta dish where a filling is rolled up in pasta sheets then rolled like a roulade, poached, sliced then served. It is so tasty, but quite technical and time consuming to make. This is my version - a baked version which is made more like cannelloni. Much easier, just as tasty and best of all, you get crunchy brown bits you don't get with the traditional rotolo!

1 Picture

Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo

If you closed your eyes and took a bite of this pasta, you would feel like you had been transported to Italy. Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo is a delicious dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a main course. This vegetarian culinary treat was prepared in my kitchen by friend and Chef, Frans Muller. The recipe features an amazing homemade tomato sauce that you can use for endless Italian dishes. Trust me – even though this dish is chef inspired, it doesn’t mean it isn’t simple enough to serve in your own home!

Recipe Notes

Sauce – If you have a local farmer’s market in your neighborhood, see if you can find micro or bush basil. Those varieties have a stronger flavor which make the sauce very delicious.

Pasta – This recipe calls for a fresh pasta sheet. If you are unable to find it, you can use boxed lasagna sheets. Just be sure to par boil until soft enough to roll and line them up in the same towel to boil.

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Ricotta – We stuffed the pasta with double strained ricotta. This variety is a lot drier than your typical wet ricotta and is more similar in texture to feta. If you have traditional ricotta be sure to strain it to remove the excess liquid.

Wine Pairing

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Red (Cantina Paradiso Negroamaro)
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White (Principe Pallavicini Frascati Superiore Poggio Verde0
$17.99

Chef Frans Muller has worked at a 2 Michelin star restaurant, Banc in Sydney, Australia and has had professional experience in a range of restaurants. He has culinary training and knowledge in a number of cuisines including French, English, Italian, Modern Australian and now American. His New York restaurant experience includes working as Sous Chef at The Rabbit Hole, Aurora and Station restaurants.


The Pasta

This rotolo’s got it all. You fill it, roll it, wrap it, boil it slice it, sauce it, bake it, eat it. At its heart though is the old familiar sheet of pasta with filling, and a creamy tomato sauce.

Once you’ve kneaded your dough and it’s happily resting, cook up that filling. Much like our anolini, simply roll the dough out into two thin sheets, and then spread the filling to evenly cover each. While you’re doing that, bring a big pot of water to the boil (this will be what you boil the wrapped rotolo in).

Starting at one narrow edge, roll each filled sheet up tightly, then place them in clean, non-fibrous, tea towels. Wrap them up like giant lollies, and tie closed as you would a big chunk of meat. Drop them in and boil them up!

Once cooked, remove and allow to cool. While you wait, heat the oven, and prepare the light tomato sauce and the béchamel. Remember to go slow with the béchamel, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. If you do clump it up though, don’t stress, you can always hit it with a stick blender after mixing it into the tomato sauce.

With the final creamy combined sauce prepared, slice the rotolo and layer it up in a baking dish. Standing the slices up on a slight angle will help cover them in sauce and give each a little bit of crispy browning when cooked. Then just stick it in the oven and hang around impatiently until the sauce starts to crack and brown.

This is a rich old dish, with a fair bit of work required, so while it might not be an every week kind of thing it’ll certainly live up to expectations for something special.


Recipe Keywords

1. Boil a pot of water and cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and lay out flat on towels.

2. Add the Filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

3. Add the tomatoes to a blender and pulse a few times to chop up the tomatoes. Leave it a little chunky, you don't want them completely pureed.

4. Heat the oil in saucepan over medium heat.

5. Add the garlic to the saucepan and cook until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Stir the tomatoes, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper into the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil, take off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

7. Spread 2/3 of the Marinara Sauce in the bottom of a large pie plate or round baking dish.

8. Spread the filling evenly over the top side of the lasagna noodles.

9. Starting from the short end, roll up the noodles.

10. Carefully slice each roll in half then flip and place in the bakng dish with the Marinara (The swirl looking side of the pasta rolls facing up).

11. Pour the remaining 1/3 Marinara Sauce evenly over top of the pasta rolls.

12. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

13. Sprinkle the top with the shredded mozzarella and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.


Baked Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo

This dish is much like cannelloni but easier to do and tastier too! It looks complicated, but it really isn't. Serve it for guests and they will think that you are a chef!

Ingredients

8 fresh lasagna sheets- 6 inches x 14 1/2 inches
½ c. Mozarella cheese, shredded
freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Filling:
8 oz. frozen spinach , chopped
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 egg
⅓ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ fresh nutmeg, grated, or ⅛ tsp. nutmeg powder
½ t. salt
black pepper

Sauce:
24 oz. passata or canned crushed tomatoes
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful basil leaves
2 T. olive oil
1 t. sugar
½ t. salt
black pepper

Directions

Tomato Sauce:
Heat oil in a 9 inch ovenproof pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 10 seconds then add onion. Cook onion until translucent and starting to turn golden, then add the remaining Tomato Sauce ingredients. Simmer for 2 minutes to marry the flavors together, then remove from heat.

Reserve 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce which will be used to drizzle over the dish at the end.

Filling:
Defrost the spinach in the microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Squeeze excess water out of the spinach using your hands, then place in a large bowl.

Add remaining filling ingredients and mix well to combine.

Assembly:
Lay out the lasagna sheets with the shorter ends in front of you so that they roll up fatter than cannelloni.

Place ⅓ cu. (packed) filling onto the lasagna sheet. Dab some water on the ends furthest away from you to seal the rolls, then roll up starting from the ends closest to you. Finish with the seal down. Continue with remaining lasagna sheets.

Cut rolls into 3 so each piece is 1.5 inches wide. Place the rolls into the tomato sauce with the filling facing up. Drizzle the reserved Tomato Sauce over the rotolo, then bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and scatter the mozzarella over the tops. Return to oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.


Notes about this recipe

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Rotolo of ricotta and spinach recipe - Recipes

This recipe comes from The River Café in London. I rediscovered it during “La Quarantina” of Covid-19. It’s comforting and easy to make if you don’t mind making your own pasta, which is something I love to do. A Tuscan recipe with spinach and fresh ricotta it has the flair of a Florentine Renaissance banquet, yet simple enough to make at home when you have cooked two meals a day for 50 days. Do the math. Digging through the archives for inspiration becomes a favorite pastime.

The filling could be made ahead, but I like to make my pasta on the spot. It does need to rest for 20 minutes though.

For the fresh pasta:
350g (12oz) 00 pasta flour or plain white flour, plus a little extra for dusting
¼ tsp sea salt
2 large eggs, plus 4 large egg yolks
approx 50g (1¾oz) medium semolina flour, for dusting

For the filling:
20g (¾oz) butter
½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 handful fresh marjoram
800g (1lb 12oz) fresh spinach, blanched and chopped
65g (2oz) dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm to hot water for 15-20 minutes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
225g (8oz) field mushrooms, coarsely sliced
approx 350g (12oz) fresh ricotta cheese
65g (2oz) parmesan, freshly grated
freshly grated nutmeg

For the sage butter:
225g (8oz) unsalted butter
1 bunch sage, leaves only

To serve:
extra grated parmigiano reggiano

Put the flour and salt in a mixer or processor and add the eggs and yolks. (you are also welcome to do it by hand). Pulse until the dough begins to come together into a loose ball. Knead until smooth – about three minutes – on a surface lightly dusted with the semolina and a little extra flour. If the dough is very stiff and difficult to knead, put it back in the processor and blend in another whole egg. Knead into a ball, set aside under a dampish cloth for at least 20 minutes and up to two hours.

For the filling, heat the butter and fry the onion until soft, then add the marjoram and spinach. Stir, season, then cool. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid. Wash to remove grit. Heat the oil and fry the garlic gently for a few minutes. Add the field mushrooms, stirring, and cook fast for five minutes. Add the porcini and fry gently for 20 minutes, occasionally adding a little of the porcini liquid to make the mushrooms moist, but not wet. Season and cool. When cold, chop roughly.

Put the ricotta in a large bowl, break it up lightly with a fork, then add the spinach mixture, parmesan and a generous amount of nutmeg. Season if necessary. Set aside.

On a work surface dusted with semolina flour, roll the pasta by hand into a large sheet, as thin as possible – it does not matter if there are a few holes or tears. Cut the edges to straighten. You should have a piece about 30cm (12in) square.

Spoon the mushroom mixture along the edge of the pasta nearest to you, in a line about 3cm (1¼in) wide. Cover the rest of the pasta with the spinach and ricotta mixture to a thickness of about 0.5-1cm (¼-½in). Starting with the mushroom edge, gently roll the pasta into a large sausage.

Place the roll on a large clean tea towel or cheese cloth and wrap as tightly as you can, so it looks like a tootsie roll. Secure with string on each end.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil. Add salt and the pasta roll, cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, according to the thickness of the roll – ours are usually 6-7cm (2½-2¾in) in diameter.

For the sage butter, heat the butter gently so that it separates. Pour out the clarified butter, return it to the heat and, when very hot, add the sage for a second or two. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Unwrap the tea towel, place the pasta on a board and cut into 1cm (½in) slices. Serve with extra grated parmesan and some sage butter.


Spinach Ricotta Rotolo Sauce

And here’s what you need for the sauce:

Tomato Passata is key for this sauce. Because it’s pureed tomato, it’s the ideal consistency to make a smooth tomato sauce for the Rotolo with just 10 minutes or simmering. Using canned tomato would require at least 30 minutes or simmering for the chunks to break down enough to make the desired consistency for the sauce.


Spinach & ricotta rotolo

Put 300g Italian ‘00’ flour, 100g fine semolina, 2 large organic eggs and 6 large organic egg yolks in a food processor and pulse until they form a yellow ball of dough. At this point, the dough should have a smooth, firm but slightly sticky texture, almost like plasticine. If it seems wet, add an extra 1-2 tsp of flour. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls and immediately wrap them in cling film to prevent them drying out. Ready to use straight away.

Buy the best

The ideal flour for pasta is ‘00’ flour, also known as Italian tipo 00 or doppio zero flour. It’s very finely milled and will give your pasta good texture and bite.

Buy the best

Use good-quality eggs too. Many supermarkets sell ‘golden yolk’ varieties, which will give your pasta a richer flavour and colour.

Salt and oil

Unlike some pasta recipes, mine has no salt or oil in it, as I find this can turn the dough grey when it’s chilled.

I use semolina for extra texture, and dust the work surfaces with semolina during proving and rolling stages, as too much flour can make the dough dry out.

Method

Begin by making the Simple tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic clove and cook until just softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and season. Cook slowly for 25 mins, stirring now and then, until very thick. Do this a day or two ahead of assembling the rotolo, or freeze it for up to 2 months.

Wilt the spinach in a pan over a medium heat, then leave to cool. Squeeze well to remove the excess water, then roughly chop the spinach. Season and leave to cool completely.

Gently fry the garlic in the butter until softened, then remove from the heat and add the marjoram. Tip into a bowl and add the spinach, ricotta and Parmesan.

Roll out the pasta (see step-by-step images). Cut the sheets into 3 or 4 pieces, each roughly 40cm long, and place them on a white tea towel. Using a little water and a pastry brush, stick the sheets together, allowing a 1cm overlap.

Using a spatula, spread the filling over the pasta as evenly as possible, leaving a 1cm border around the edge.

Fold over the edge of the pasta nearest to you and, using the tea towel and the weight of the pasta, roll it away from you like you would a Swiss roll.

Brush the open edge of the pasta with a little water and press together to seal.

Wrap the pasta roll tightly in the tea towel and tie a piece of string round it every 10cm or so (or use a butcher’s knot – see step-by-step images). Tie the ends with string to secure them, leaving a long piece of string at each end to act as a handle.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (a fish kettle is ideal, but a deep roasting tin filled with water works well too) and cook the rotolo for 20 mins. Remove from the water and leave to cool. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Gently unwrap the rotolo and cut it into 3cm slices. Arrange the slices in a baking dish. Spoon over the Simple tomato sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 mins until the pasta is hot and crisping around the edges.


Watch the video: Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo (January 2022).