Squash and Spinach Stuffed Rotolo
Sundays in the Branny household mean two things.
The first? 60 minutes. We are die-hard 60 minutes fans. Dorky, I know. I can’t defend it.
We’ve been known to schedule social occasions around the 7pm air-time.
We’ve been known to get angry at sports events that delay the start of our favorite show.
And the Omnivore may or may not have named his old Basset after one of the anchors (care to venture a guess as to which journalist most resembled that old hound dog?).
The second thing that is inevitable on a Sunday, you ask? Experimenting with new, more time intensive recipes.
Don’t let that phrase “time-intensive” throw you off here. This meal of pasta stuffed with squash, spinach, and cheese, can actually come together in 30 minutes flat with some minimal planning ahead. I’ll post tips at the end of the posting.
Rotolo (4 servings, adapted from Jamie Oliver)
For the pasta
1 cup AP flour
1 egg white
Beat together egg and egg white. In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, combine eggs, flour, and salt. Pulse until a ball forms and then pulse for 30 seconds longer to knead dough. If using a stand mixer, knead 1 minute until smooth. If using neither, knead 8-10 minutes. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to using for pasta.
For the filling
1 acorn squash
1/3 cup chopped onion
3/4 tsp coriander
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (low fat okay)
Preheat oven to 425* Grind fennel seeds with coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper. (Use a mortar and pestel). Toss with chopped onion. Quarter squash and scoop out seeds. Place squash segments, topped with onion/spice mixture, in a baking dish and roast 25 minutes, covered. Remove cover and continue cooking 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Mash together squash, scraped from outer skin, with onion in a small bowl (puree in food processor if you want uniform consistency).
Preheat a nonstick skillet sprayed with olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic clove until it begins to turn golden. Wilt spinach over low heat and add nutmeg. Remove from heat when fully cooked and squeeze away excess moisture.
Using plenty of flour, roll pasta dough into a large rectangle, about 14″ long and 8″ wide. The dough should be as thick as a cardboard coaster you might find at your favorite beer joint
Once rolled, place dough rectangle on top of your clean dish towel. Arrange filling as directed:
Align squash filling lengthwise along the edge of pasta dough closest to you, leaving a border of 1″. Cover the remaining pasta with spinach, apart from a small margin of dough on the opposite side of the line of squash. Spread that portion of the dough with ricotta cheese.
Roll pasta like a jelly-roll, then wrap securely in dish towel. Secure entire mass with 4 lengths of twine as shown below.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Place rotolo in pot. You may place need a small glass plate from your college years atop rotolo to keep it submerged.
Boil 25 minutes and remove from water. Unwrap from towel and slice into 1″ thicknesses. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for serving.
-This would be a great dinner party meal! The presentation is beautiful and the main course cooks largely unattended. The rotolo can remain in the hot dishtowel for 10 or so minutes before slicing and serving.
-You may make the dough 24 hours prior
-You may roast the squash 1-2 days prior
-You may sautee spinach filling 1-2 days prior to cooking
-You may assemble the entire mass 1 day before boiling
-You may vary the filling, using meat or other veggies if desired.
For another variation, see Cate’s World Kitchen