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!
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.
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.
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Red (Cantina Paradiso Negroamaro)
White (Principe Pallavicini Frascati Superiore Poggio Verde0
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.
- 1 Fresh Lasagna Sheet
- 2 lb Baby Spinach
- 1 Ib Twice Drained Ricotta
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 bunch Fresh Basil - chopped (Bush Basil if available)
- 1 small bunch Fresh Parsley - finely chopped
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- 1 Large White Cloth Napkin
- 1 32oz Can of Whole Tomatoes
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil - Bush Basil if available
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Add 1/3 cup of olive oil and 3 cloves of smashed garlic to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic turns golden brown and then remove the cloves from the pan. Add basil to the oil and then immediately add the entire can of tomatoes.
- Let the sauce simmer over medium heat for about 45 minutes. Using a potato masher, smash the whole tomatoes to create a chunky sauce, stir in tomato paste, season with salt and pepper.
- Blanch the baby spinach for about 30 seconds until all cooked and then place in a ice bath. Once slightly chilled, remove the spinach from the water and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Chop the spinach and place into a medium bowl
- Mince garlic on a cutting board and add a dash of salt, using the back of a spoon work it into a paste. Add garlic paste to the bowl along with chopped parsley, basil, ricotta and Parmesan. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
- Lay full pasta sheet out and spread the spinach mixture over the surface of the sheet. Starting at one end, roll the sheet up the long way to create one pasta log.
- Once the pasta is rolled, place on the white napkin and roll to cover the pasta.
- Tie a string around the pasta roll and place it in a large pan of boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes until soft. Carefully remove from the hot water, cut the string and slice into 4 pieces.
- Plate the tomato sauce, place the rotolo on top and garish with basil! - Enjoy