My Italian blogger friends, Marie over at Proud Italian Cook and Maryann at Finding La Dolce Vita, are hosting their second annual Festa Italiana, a virtual potluck of Italian dishes. I wanted to make something really special for this, so I did a Pasta Roll, stuffed with spinach and dressed with tomato sauce.
This roll can be an entree or a side dish. It can also be a great vegetarian dish - just omit the prosciutto. Don't be afraid to make this! It's really not hard and you will have fun doing it. It is basically two things - the pasta and the filling, and you make both and allow the pasta to rest and the filling to cool. Then assemble and boil for one hour. If you don't want to make a fresh tomato sauce, just use your favorite jarred sauce. Having a fish poacher is the ideal thing, but if you don't have one (and I don't) just use a large roaster.
Pasta Roll With Spinach and Tomato Sauce
for a printer friendly recipe, click here
You will need a fish poacher or large roasting pan, a large piece of cheesecloth, and kitchen string.
for the Pasta Dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 eggs, room temperature
for the Filling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound ricotta cheese
- 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into small dice
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Fresh Tomato Sauce (or whatever jarred sauce you like)
For Pasta Dough: Mound flour on work surface and make a well in the center. Break eggs into well and blend with a fork. Gradually draw flour into center until almost all flour is incorporated. Bring dough together and if it is too sticky, add the remaining flour. Knead dough about 5 minutes. Add more flour if it is too sticky, just a teaspoon at a time. Wrap dough in floured plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature at least an hour.
For Filling: Melt butter in a very large skillet over medium heat. Saute spinach and onions until just wilted. You will have to fill the skillet with spinach and add a handful at a time, until all spinach is added. Toss with two spatulas or spoons until all the spinach is wilted, just a few minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients except sauce. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely.
Unwrap dough, flour work surface and roll dough out into a rectangle. Your rectangle should not be larger than the pan, from corner to corner, that you plan to boil the pasta roll in. (Probably about 13x18, depending on how large the pan you use). Trim rectangle evenly if you need to. Spread filling over top, leaving a 1" border. Roll up tightly from one long side, using a pastry scraper as aid, to lift the dough up and help it along. Wrap pasta roll tightly in cheesecloth, twisting ends in opposite directions to smooth. Knot end and secure with string.
Bring large amount of salted water to rapid boil in your fish poacher or roasting pan. Add pasta roll and let return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. If roll is not completely submerged, roll with tongs every ten minutes. Remove pasta roll from water and let rest 10 minutes. Unwrap and cut into 1" slices. Arrange on platter. Top with fresh tomato sauce and serve.