I went to a class on how to make pasta. I know, I can hear all of you saying, “it’s only flour and eggs for goodness sake, why did she need a class??” I attend a weekly cooking demonstration class at a local foodie place called How To Cook. There is a group of about 30 women who meet every Friday at 10am and this week it was a pasta making demonstration by the importer of Marcato pasta machines.
The class was good because I have always used a recipe that calls for 00 flour, salt, milk and olive oil and Chris from DKSH advises using just flour and eggs and nothing else. So that’s what I tried and it came out really good. I used fresh eggs at room temperature and 00 flour that wasn’t past its use-by date.
During the class Chris used his pasta machine to roll the pasta into thin sheets. One thing I didn’t know was that when you’re using a pasta machine and putting the dough through the machine the first time that you should run it through 6 times on the widest setting. Run it through the first time, fold it and run it through and then fold it 4 more times before running it through the lower numbers. He wasn’t sure why but it was a must.
At the end of the presentation we all got to eat pasta with a fresh tomato sauce and we all went home happy. As we were getting ready to leave, Chris asked if any of us had eaten rotolo and nobody had. He said it was a fantastic way to use pasta. When I got home I Googled it and watched a video by Jamie Oliver teaching it to the Today Show crew. I knew then I had to make it.
I roasted some butternut pumpkin (squash) for 35 minutes at 350F and stirfried some baby spinach in a little oil and garlic and set them aside to cool.
With my newfound pasta inspiration and my dough already made I rolled it out. It didn’t get thin enough (batch one) but I made it anyway just to taste the ingredients.
I rolled it up in the tea towel and tied off the ends with string. Then I did as Jamie suggested and put it in a pan of boiling water for 30 minutes. My dough was too thick and my pan was too small and my roll looked more like a snake than a sausage. But…
It tasted DIVINE!!
I knew I had to make it again.
Roasted the butternut, sauteed the spinach and this time I sauteed some mushrooms before adding the spinach and garlic and I added some sweet red pepper (capcisum) for color and flavor. I pre-cooked pepper in the microwave for 3 minutes.
I made the dough and this time, rather than try to roll it out (I have arthritis) I thought I’d run it through the pasta machine and then stick the 3 strips together. Cheating I know, but hey, whatever works and this worked a treat for me.
Once the dough was stuck together and smooth I placed it on the tea towel and added the butternut. Squish the butternut into a roll – it will be soft enough to do this and you can get a much tighter roll if you do. Then sprinkle the spinach, ricotta, mushrooms, and pepper (or anything else you think you’d like), grate fresh parmesan over everything and roll ‘er up and then roll the roll in the towel and tie off both ends.
This time, instead of trying to fight with the boiling water in a smallish pan, I kept the oven on after the butternut was finished and placed the rotolo in an ovenproof pan and placed it in the oven and then poured boiling water over it. I baked it for an hour.
Just before it was to finish I clarified some butter and then put some sage leaves in til they were crispy and then removed them. Then removed the rotolo from the oven, cut the strings and unrolled it. Be careful this is hot.
Then I cut portion sizes and set them in the hot sage butter for about a minute on each side and then plated them. I served them with sauteed grape tomatoes that I’d cut in half and cooked with the other end of the clarified butter. (Not one to waste.) Added salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Yum.
This time I plated appetizer sizes because remember, we ate these yesterday too. Plus I had made fettucini noodles to use with poached chicken and I don’t want to be 3-ton Tina by next week.
Maybe you would use less sage butter than I did. I look at it now and it seems a bit decadent but seriously, can anyone get enough burnt sage butter? I served it with grated parmesan but the first time I used it it covered up the rotolo. (orgasmic cooking sometimes takes effort) This was SO good, you’ve gotta try it.
- 1 pound fresh egg pasta dough
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- ½ a butternut squash, halved and deseeded
- 1¾ pound washed babyspinach
- 3 mushrooms sliced
- ½ pound of unsalted butter
- olive oil
- fresh nutmeg (to be grated)
- 5½ ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- ½ a sweet red pepper (capsicum) cut into strips
- about 20 fresh sage leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Make the pasta
- Chop the butternut pumpkin/squash into chunks and rub them with a little olive oil and place them on a baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and roast for about 35 minutes til it just begins to turn brown on the edges. Remove and let cool.
- Saute the mushroom in a small amount of olive oil and when they're nearly done add the garlic and spinach and cook just til the spinach is wilted. Only takes a minute or 2. Add salt and pepper to taste and then set aside to cool.
- roll out your pasta either use a pasta machine to give you 4 or 5 long sheets (6 x 12 inches wide) and stick them together using a little water, or use a rolling pin on a large surface, dusting with flour on top of and underneath the dough. Roll it out into a rectangular shape and trim it as necessary.
- Lay the rolled out pasta on a clean kitchen towel.
- At the end closest to you make a row of butternut at the edge of the pasta.
- Sprinkle the spinach and mushrooms over the remainder of the pasta.
- Add dollops of ricotta cheese over the spinach
- Add strips of pepper/capsicum on top of that
- Add grated parmesan on top of that
- Season with pepper and a fine grating of nutmeg
- Starting with the pumpkin edge roll the pasta as tightly as you can make it
- When fully rolled place at the beginning of the tea towel and roll up into a sausage shape in the tea towel.
- Tie off both ends of the tea towel with string to keep the rotolo secure.
- Place in an oven proof pan and place in a 375F oven. Pour boiling water into the pan til it covers the rotolo.
- Bake for one hour.
- Remove from the oven and then heat clarified butter on medium-high heat and add the sage leaves and cook til crispy. Remove leaves.
- Cut strings off rotolo and unroll and place on cutting board.
- Slice rotolo into serving portions 1½ to 2 inches wide and place cut side down in the butter.
- Cook for a minute or 2 on each side and place on serving plate
- Drizzle with sage butter and add a few sage leaves on top
- Garnish with grated parmesan
- Enjoy! This is too good for mere words. You've gotta taste.
** Update to this post!
Carl Legge from LlynLines
made his own rotolo ! Here’s the photo and I think he’s put me to shame! I think it looks good enough to put a fork in it! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing, Carl.