Baked Spinach and ricotta rotolo

Ingredients :

  • 8 – 10 fresh lasagne sheets (15 x 11 cm/6 x 4.5″) (Note 1)
  • 100 g mozarella cheese , shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (for drizzling later)

FILLING

  • 500g / 1 lb frozen spinach (pre chopped) , thawed and excess water squeezed out (Note 2)
  • 500 g / 1 lb ricotta cheese (NOT smooth, whipped or spreadable in tubs, Note 3)
  • 100 g mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g parmesan cheese , shredded
  • 1 garlic clove , pressed using garlic crusher or finely grated
  • 1/4 fresh nutmeg , grated (or 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 onion , finely diced (brown, yellow, white)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 700 g / 24 oz tomato passata (US: Tomato puree) (Note 5)
  • 375 ml water
  • Handful basil leaves (optional)

Instructions

TOMATO SAUCE:

  • Heat oil in a 25cm/10″ ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. (Note 6)
  • Add garlic and sauté for 10 seconds then add onion.
  • Cook onion until translucent and starting to turn golden, then passata, water, chilli flakes (if using), salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes on medium low, then stir through basil. Should be quite thin – the lasagna sheets will absorb water while in the oven so sauce thickens alot in oven.
  • Scoop out 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce which will be used to drizzle over the dish at the end. Keep sauce warm.

FILLING & ASSEMBLING:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350CF (all oven types)
  • Place Filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix well with wooden spoon.
  • As per the photo & video, lay out the lasagne sheet with the shorter end in front of you.
  • Place 1/3 cup (packed) of filling onto the lasagne sheet. Dab some water on the end furthest away from you (to seal the roll), then roll up starting from the end closest to you. Finish with the seal down.
  • Cut rolls into 3 (so each piece is 3.5cm/1.5″ wide). Place the rolls into the tomato sauce with the filling facing up.
  • Repeat with remaining lasagna sheets until all the Filling is used up.
  • Drizzle the reserved Tomato Sauce over (don’t cover completely, leave some exposed).
  • Cover loosely with foil, bake 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, remove foil. Drizzle with oil, top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden and you’ve got some crunchy golden bits on the edges. Serve!

Recipe Notes:

1. Lasagna sheets

  • need to be fresh sheets from the fridge section so they can be rolled up
  • standard 375g/ 12oz packs from Australian grocery store is more than you need – you’ll have about 1/3 leftover (freeze and use in beef or , chicken ,vegetable lasagna)
  • dried sheets – boil them per packet, drain then use.
  • size – don’t worry if your lasagne sheets are not exactly the same size (they come in all different sizes). They can be any size as long as they can be cut to size so they are long enough to roll up, then can be cut into 3.5 – 4 cm / 1.5″ little logs.

2. Spinach – thaw then grab handfuls and squeeze out excess water, or press through colander like I do in video.

To use fresh, you’ll need 3 bunches of English spinach – chop off stems, wash throughly, blanch until wilted then finely chop, squeeze out excess liquid and use per recipe (you need 1.5 cups packed, after water squeezed out).

3. Ricotta:

  • Paesanella brand is my favourite (vac packed baskets at Harris and delis);
  • Don’t use spreadable / whipped or smooth ricotta, these are for spreading on things so they are fluffier and creamier;
  •  Australia, do NOT get Perfect Italiano in tubs from the fridge section! It is offensively bad – powdery and terrible;

Can’t get good ricotta? Use one of these:

  • 250g/8oz cream cheese softened +250g/8oz cottage cheese*
  • Greekish spin – 250g/8oz cream cheese softened  + 150g/5oz feta (preferably Danish, the creamier rather than crumbly feta, if you can find it) + 100g/3oz cottage cheese* (or more feta)

* Remove excess water from cottage cheese: tip out into paper towel lined colander for 15 minutes.

5 Passata is pureed tomato, thinner than tomato paste and smoother than crushed tomatoes. Sometimes labelled “tomato puree” in the US.

You can substitute with crushed tomatoes but you will need to add and extra 1 cup of water and simmer for 20 minutes so the tomato breaks down more.

6. Cooking vessel – if you don’t have the right size oven proof skillet, just make the sauce in any frypan then transfer into a baking dish. One way to figure out the right size is to make all the roll ups, stand them upright on a plate then you’ll know how big a baking dish you need.

7. To make ahead, this is best frozen before baking. Cool the tomato sauce, then stir in an extra 3/4 cup water (the lasagna sheets hydrate even when not in oven, if you don’t do this, you end up with thick tomato sauce once cooked).

Assemble the dish but do not put the cheese on, freeze in an airtight container, then defrost completely. Bake 40 minutes covered (takes longer fridge cold) then top with cheese and bake 15 min per recipe.

If you freeze it after baking it: defrost completely then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of water (most of it over the pasta sauce) per 6 pieces of rotolo before reheating. If you reheat it in the microwave, stick it under the grill/broiler for a few minutes (after reheating it) to make the top crunchy again, and I also recommend adding some fresh cheese, just to freshen the dish up. To reheat it in the oven, reheat at 180C/300F (covered with foil) until just warmed through ~ 15 nin. Then remove the cover, scatter over some fresh cheese then return to oven until the top is crunchy, the cheese melted and the rotolo is heated through.

8 – Nutrition per serving.

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