Back in Accra, and catching up with cooking and writing. As usual I came back with fresh food, this time some fresh pasta and ricotta. Fresh pumpkin and spinach I found here: it is so good to see more vegetables available in Accra. I’d seen rotolo mentioned in a Jamie Oliver article in the Guardian, then again in this blogpost which had a nicer recipe, I thought. It’s like a vertically rolled vegetable lasagna, really nice. Time to try it!
Rotolo (stuffed pasta rolls)
500 gr pumpkin, boiled or steamed
250 gr ricotta
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
400 gr fresh baby spinach, washed drained and blanched
800 gr tinned tomatoes, chopped (I use kitchen scissors in the tin….)
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
4 sheets fresh pasta 125 gr 20×40 cm – this one cooks in 15 min
Topping: 100 gr cheese of your choice, optional
There are various components to this: pasta sheets, topped with mashed pumpkin, with a dollop of steamed spinach mixed with ricotta. The pasta is rolled up, set vertically in a dish, with tomato sauce poured around the rolls, and baked. Cheese added last ten minutes. It’s not complicated but also not a quick dish to make, though I enjoyed making this. Let’s see:
Pumpkin: steam, roast or boil it. Drain and cool a bit, and mash.
Tomato sauce: Chop onion and garlic, fry gently in olive oil, tip in chopped tomato wirh salt and pepper, and let cook gently while you prep the rest.
Spinach: Blanched it quickly in the pumpkin cooking water. Drain, cool slightly (so you can handle it). Squeeze out water (I used a kitchen towel) and roughly chop. Mix it with ricotta, nutmeg, thyme plus a pinch of salt.
Lay out your pasta sheets, and slather on some mashed pumpkin. These pasta sheets were 15×20 min (for lasagna), a good size. Add a generous dollop of ricotta-spinach mixture in the middle of each, spread it across the middle parallell to the short side. Roll up the sheets from the short end. Cut each roll into three pieces and set down in a baking dish. Pour tomato sauce into the gaps.
Cover in foil, bake 20 min at 180C. Then top with cheese and bake 10 min more, without foil.
Before it went into oven… and as it came out, with slightly crispy pasta edges and melted cheese. Definitely something to make again.