Chard and spinach rotolo

Theo Randall's baked pasta roll with tomato sauce features golden home-made dough rich in egg yolks
By Theo Randall
Chard and spinach rotolo
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus chilling time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the pasta

  • 300 g tipo 00 flour
  • 100 g fine semolina, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 large eggs, plus 6 large egg yolks

For the tomato sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 leaves basil
  • 300 g datterini tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
  • 300 g plum tomatoes, in water, drained

For the filling

  • 500 g spinach
  • 500 g swiss chard
  • 500 g ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp chopped marjoram
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan

Tips and Suggestions

Rotolo hails from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is a roll of pasta and filling that is poached whole then cut into slices and served with sauce.

Theo says it's best to use organic eggs for the dough in this recipe.

Datterini tomatoes are small, date-shaped tomatoes with an especially sweet flavour and high proportion of flesh to seeds. They are available from specialist Italian grocers, and some online retailers. If you can't find them, use mini plum tomatoes.

Method

1. For the pasta: combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a yellow ball of dough is formed. At this point the dough should have a smooth, firm but slightly sticky texture, almost like plasticine. If it seems wet add an extra teaspoon or 2 of flour. Divide into 2 equal balls and immediately wrap them in cling film to prevent them drying out. Chill for 40 minutes to an hour. This dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and lightly dust the balls with semolina. Pass them through a pasta machine several times on the same setting so the gluten is worked thoroughly. Next pass the dough through the machine several times, narrowing the rollers by one notch each time, until you reach the thinnest setting and the pasta feels smooth and elastic.

3. For the tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the garlic until softened. Add the basil leaves then the tomatoes and cook slowly for 25 minutes, or until thick and creamy.

4. For the filling: blanch the spinach in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well in a colander and leave to cool, then chop roughly.

5. Remove the stems from the chard and chop them finely. Shred the leaves, then blanch them until tender, as you did with the spinach, then cool and finely chop. Combine the spinach, chard leaves and stems, and ricotta together in a bowl, then mix well with your fingers. Add the egg yolk and marjoram and mix in well using a wooden spoon. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a grind of black pepper.

6. Trim the pasta sheets into 3 rectangles and place side by side on a large clean tea towel. Using a pastry brush and a little water, overlap the long sides by about 1cm and press to seal, making one large pasta sheet. Spread the filling evenly over this.

7. Fold over the edge of pasta nearest to you then, using the tea towel and the weight of the pasta to help, roll up the pasta and filling like you would a swiss roll. Brush the open edge of the pasta with a little more water and press to seal the cylinder. Wrap tightly in the tea towel, then tie the cylinder every 10cm and the ends of the towel with kitchen string.

8. Bring a large pan or fish kettle of water to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the roll in the water and poach for 12-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. Remove and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.

9. Gently unwrap the rotolo and cut into slices 1cm thick. Arrange then in an oval earthenware dish, cover with the tomato sauce, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until just coloured, and serve immediately.

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