Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Squash & Spinach Stuffed Rotolo Pasta

Jamie Oliver is awesome. I've been watching the Food Revolution on ABC Friday nights. I've been a fan of Jamie's cooking for awhile but this show is what really sparked me to start cooking more food from scratch. In the show, he tries to get the public schools in Huntington, West Virginia to change the cafeteria menus to healthy food. He sets ups a "kitchen" in town where he gives free cooking lessons to anyone that walks in. He does fund raisers to have the cafeteria cooks retrained on how to cook actual meals, instead of just adding water and reheating precooked junk. It really is fun to watch the transformation and his enthusiasm for healthy cooking is infectious.

So, I took what Jamie was teaching in the schools and applied it to my own life. Basically, he says that you can still eat the food you love, you just have to make it healthy. So the journey began. There have been some disasters and some pretty good finds. I'm slowly adding to my recipe rotations and having fun trying new stuff.

This recipe is an adaptation from one of the recipes in the book Jaime's Italy.

This is a great summer meal. It is light and filling. There is no heavy sauce to go along with it, although Vince thinks this is a great tragedy. It is also very pretty. It makes a great presentation for guests.

Now don't panic, but you will be making your own pasta for this recipe. Deep breaths...really, it will be ok. It is not that hard to do. I'll walk you through it step by step. Just take it slow and it will turn out beautifully. I promise.

Squash & Spinach Stuffed Rotolo
From Branny Boils Over



1 & 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Large Eggs
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

  1. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a hole in the center of the flour.
  3. Break the eggs into the hole.
  4. Whisk the eggs until pale yellow.
  5. Continue whisking while slowly incorporating the flour.
  6. Continue to incorporate the flour until a dough has formed.
  7. Once a dough ball has formed, begin to knead the dough until it is no longer sticky.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface to roll out.
  9. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle shape. It should measure about 10 inches by 15 inches. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  10. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready for use.



1 Small Squash (I used acorn)
3/4 Teaspoon Coriander
1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
About 2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves
1 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (I used Soft Tofu)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash into quarters.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and place the squash, flesh side up, into a baking dish.
  4. With a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seed with the coriander and salt.
  5. Season the squash with the ground spices.
  6. Cover the squash with tin foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  7. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.
  9. Once cool, scrape the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl.
  10. Mash until smooth.
  11. In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter and brown the garlic.
  12. Add the spinach and cook until completely wilted.
  13. Add the nutmeg and toss.


  1. Lay out a large piece of cheese-cloth or a clean dish towel (bigger than the pasta).
  2. Lay the pasta onto the cloth.
  3. Spoon the squash across the long end of the pasta that is closest to you.
  4. Spoon the spinach across the pasta right next to the squash.
  5. Spoon the cheese/tofu across the remaining edge of the pasta, be sure to go all the way to the edge.
  6. Begin slowly rolling the pasta up, jelly-roll style. Start at the squash end and roll towards the cheese/tofu. Roll fairly tight but don't squish out the filling.
  7. Use the cheese/tofu to seal the end of the pasta to itself.
  8. Wrap the cloth/towel around the rotolo.
  9. Tie the cloth on each end and 2-3 times in the middle using kitchen twine.


  1. Fill a large pasta pot (or stew pot) with about 6 inches of water.
  2. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling place the rotolo (towel and all) into the water. You may need to place a plate or other object over the rotolo to keep it from floating to the top of the water.
  4. Boil for 25 minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes, remove from the water and place on a cutting board.
  6. Carefully unwrap the rotolo and slice into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces.
Yields: 6-8 servings

I served this without any sauce but Vince "needed" it. He has an aversion to pasta without sauce. *sigh* He put basil tomato sauce on it, which I would not recommend. If anything, I would do a light cream sauce but it was really yummy without anything.

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