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Spinach and ricotta rotolo

This vibrant dish will thrill more than just the vegetarians at your Christmas table.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 2 hrs preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking (plus resting)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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This vibrant dish will thrill more than just the vegetarians at your table. The pasta takes a little effort to prepare, but it's worth it.

Ingredients

  • 3 bunches English spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 800 gm firm ricotta
  • Handful of basil, finely chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 50 gm parmesan, grated
  • 150 ml vegetable stock
  • 750 gm cherry truss tomatoes or mixed small heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive-oil
  • Shaved parmesan, to serve
  • Butter, cooked until nut-brown, for drizzling
Pasta dough
  • 300 gm "00" (2 cups) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

Method

  • 1
    For pasta dough, mix ingredients in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook on medium speed until dough comes together, then knead until smooth and elastic (5 minutes). Wrap and leave to rest (20 minutes).
  • 2
    Cook wet spinach, in batches, in a saucepan over high heat until wilted. Drain in a colander to cool, then squeeze to remove any excess liquid and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Divide pasta into 6 pieces, then, working with one piece at a time, feed through pasta machine, starting at the widest setting then reducing notch by notch until 1.5mm thick. Blanch sheets in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (1 minute). Drain, refresh with cold water, then drain again and lightly brush with oil.
  • 4
    Combine cooled spinach, ricotta and herbs. Season well.
  • 5
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Place sheets of plastic wrap on the bench. Lay pasta sheets on top, overlapping slightly, to form a 70cm square. Spread ricotta mixture over. Use the plastic to roll up pasta to form a firm log, peeling back wrap as you go. Discard wrap. Trim edges. Cut log into 9 pieces. Place in a lightly greased 22cm x 30cm baking dish. Pour stock around rotolo and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with baking paper, then foil and bake until pasta is tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Remove paper and foil, increase oven to 220°C and bake until golden (10-15 minutes).
  • 6
    Meanwhile, drizzle tomatoes with oil and roast on an oven tray until golden (15-20 minutes).
  • 7
    Top rotolo with tomatoes, basil and parmesan, drizzle over butter, and serve.