Rotolo with Roasted Spinach and Ricotta Cheese is similar to lasagna and cannelloni rolls, but better because it has brown, crispy bits. And the crunchy texture is always the best!
Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo
I’ll call it – it will be the best new thing you’ve done all year. Rich tomato sauce. Spinach and Ricotta Cream Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Nutmeg. Golden Brown Bubble Cheese. and a piece of brown crisp, the crown.
What is Rotolo?
Rotolo is a traditional Italian dish that is little known outside of Italy. The literal translation of “rotolo” is “scroll” or “coil”.
The original way to make rotolo is to use very large sheets of fresh pasta stuffed and then rolled up. It is quite technical and demanding as the rolls have to be wrapped in kitchen towel, boiled, sliced and served with sauce.
For everyday cooking, I set this recipe aside as “too complicated”.
By the way, I found a baked version by Jamie Oliver. The way he did it was basically cannelloni made with thinly sliced fresh lasagna sheets, then tossed in tomato sauce and toasted.
Not authentic, but much more practical for normal people like me. And so delicious! Those brown pieces…
Those crunchy brown bits. They cook this dish!
If you usually like cannelloni (or pasta casserole or lasagna) with spinach and ricotta cheese, you will love this rotolo. Guaranteed.
Spinach Ricotta Rotolo Rilling
Rotolo comes with all kinds of filling options. Jamie Oliver’s recipe includes meat as well as zucchini and spinach, with spinach and ricotta being my favorite option.
Here’s what you need to fill.
PS Let’s assume you didn’t forget to add the lasagna sheets in the photo above! Fresh is best, but if you can only dry it, just boil it and use as directed.
Shall we fill the meat?
Try this Cannelloni Stuffing with Spinach and Beef. Increase by 50% (i.e. use 750g/1.5lb beef or add more spinach), refrigerate (thicken) and roll!
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 5 minutes simmering. Using canned tomato would require at least 30 minutes simmering for the chunks to break down enough to make the desired consistency for the sauce.
How to make Baked Rotolo
And here’s how it’s made:
- Make the sauce first;
- Mix filling, roll up, cut into thirds;
- Place in sauce, bake!
The smell from the oven while baking is really nice.
But the moment you take it out of the oven and see it just baked, you’ll be mesmerized by its beauty… Just seeing this in real life is worth it.
These are pretty strong stuff, so you don’t need to bury them with a delicate touch. They stick together nicely (the lasagna sheets stick together while cooking) and hold their shape pretty well when scooped. see? (And wait until you watch the video!)
In fact, some of them will flap, sag, and fall on their sides, and you’ll probably rip the sides of some of them as you scoop them into the pot to serve on a plate.
And this is totally on topic. This spinach and ricotta rotolo is nothing short of elegant. Keep it simple. The best food tastes leisurely!
This dish actually has a fair amount of vegetables in it, given that there are two bundles of spinach (ahem, frozen spinach form!) and a large jar of tomato passata. So, it is usually served as it is without any side dishes on weekday lunches.