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Sunday, November 16, 2008

jamie oliver's rotolo of spinach, squash and ricotta

butternut squash rotolo with crispy sage

According to Jamie Oliver, he was discovered with this stuffed, rolled pasta dish called a rotolo (someone important saw him making it, and his TV chef career began). It's actually less labor-intensive than ravioli, since you are basically working with one giant stuffed piece of pasta instead of 30+. And if you really want to impress someone with dinner, it should be delicious, beautifully presented, and unique. This rotolo fits the bill perfectly.

Grocery list: 1 pound fresh pasta dough, 1/2 butternut squash (halved, deseeded), olive oil, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel, 1/2 a dried chili, handful of fresh oregano leaves, 2 cloves garlic, 1.5 pounds fresh spinach, butter, grated nutmeg, 5.5 oz ricotta, 2oz grated parmesan, fresh sage leaves.

pound of fresh pasta

Make pasta dough (after many batches, I've now settled on a 2 cups flour + 3 whole eggs + 3 yolks to make the perfect consistency).

making single pasta sheet

Then, fix all pasta pieces together with a dab of water at the edges, so you have one large rectangular sheet of pasta.

Jamie's recipe calls for cubing the squash and seasoning with ground coriander, fennel and chili - I simply roasted it with olive oil, salt and pepper (along with a spaghetti squash I was using for another meal). Roast for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Mash the squash pieces until they are almost spreadable, and allow to cool.

garlic and oregano for rotolo

Mince the garlic and fresh oregano, and saute in olive oil over medium-high heat for a few seconds.

fresh spinach for rotolo

Add the spinach - it will look like way too much, but will cook down drastically as long as you keep moving it around the pan.

spinach cooked down

After the water has cooked out (5 minutes or so), add a couple T of butter, season with grated nutmeg (1/2 tsp?), salt and pepper. Allow to cool.

ricotta and parmesan rotolo filling

Spoon the squash, spread the spinach, sprinkle the ricotta and then parmesan, leaving 2 inches at the top of the pasta sheet clear. Roll up like a jelly roll, then wrap in a cheesecloth and tie both ends. Boil gently in a large pot of salted water for 25 minutes.

wrapped rotolo

Jamie's recipe also calls for clarifying 1/2 pound of butter (heating it till the whey separates, spooning off the whey, then using the rest so you can fry it without smoking or turning brown). I actually just used olive oil to fry the sage leaves, drained them on paper towels, then melted some butter to pour over the rotolo.

cooked rotolo

Remove from the water, cut the cheesecloth carefully away, and slice into 1-2 inch thick pieces. Drizzle a little butter, sprinkle with extra parmesan, and lay a couple of fried sage leaves over the top.

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