Spinach Rotolo with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ed Baines rustles up roly-poly pasta, oozing with spinach and spicy Italian sausage, in a glorious tomato sauce
By Ed Baines
Spinach Rotolo with Fresh Tomato Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: hard


For the pasta:

  • 400 g '00' flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-6 tbsp ice cold water
  • semolina flour, for dusting

For the rotolo filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 spicy Italian sausages, skinned
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 800 g fresh spinach, washed blanched and chopped
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp thyme, leaves only
  • black pepper
  • 25 g almonds
  • 25 g pine kernels
  • 350 g ricotta cheese
  • 75 g parmesan, freshly grated

For the fresh tomato sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes, drained
  • black pepper
  • small bunch of basil


1. First of all, make the pasta. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add 2 of the whole eggs and the extra yolks, with 2 tablespoons of the iced water.

2. Slowly start to mix the dough with your fingertips, adding more iced water when necessary until the mixture forms a firm dough. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Wrap in cling film and chill until ready to use.

3. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the sausage meat until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the butter to the pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the spinach, a grating of nutmeg, and the thyme. Stir well, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then leave the mixture to cool.

4. Put the ricotta into a large bowl and mix lightly with a fork to break it up. Stir in the cooled spinach mixture, the almonds, pine nuts and Parmesan. Set aside.

5. Roll out the pasta into a large thin sheet of about 30cm square, (or use a pasta machine), lightly dusting the surfaces with semolina flour, to prevent the pasta sticking.

6. Arrange the cooked sausage along the edge of the pasta nearest to you, in a line about 3cm wide. Spread the spinach and ricotta mixture evenly over the remaining pasta.

7. Starting with the sausage edge, gently roll up the pasta into a large sausage, working away from you. Place the pasta roll on a large clean tea towel and wrap in the cloth as tightly as you can. Secure with string to hold the roll in shape. Chill until ready to cook.

8. Make the tomato sauce. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, to break up the tomatoes. When the juices have evaporated and the sauce is thickened, add the remaining olive oil and basil leaves. Season and keep warm.

9. Fill a fish kettle with water, add some salt, and bring to the boil. Gently lower in the pasta roll and cover. Simmer for 18-20 minutes, according to the thickness of the roll, until the pasta is cooked.

10. Carefully unwrap the pasta and cut into thick slices. Serve immediately with the hot tomato sauce.

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