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A Pasta Roll is a beautiful way to begin a Holiday dinner. It takes a little effort but serving such a lovely dish will impress your guests.
My mother made this pasta dish and I rediscovered it when I stayed in Bologna for a month. I took a cooking course during that time, but this was not one of the dishes we prepared. It was recommended that I try Bologna’s pasta rolls. I was there for exactly that to learn and experience everyday life and all the marvels of Bologna. As in many regions of Italy, Bologna is said to have the best food in Italy. The pasta rolls were about double the size of the recipe I have posted and mainly made with a Bolognese filling. I think this recipe is not only delicious but is lovely for a Holiday or celebration.
Rullo della pasta
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: Pasta Roll, 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings as main course, 6 servings as a first dish
1 1/2 cups flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking powder
Other Items Needed
Cheesecloth, 1 large piece or if you don’t have a big enough pan, you can make the pasta roll in 2 pieces. You will then need 2 pieces of cheesecloth.
Place the dough ingredients except for the water, into a food processor with the dough attachment. Process until the mixture looks like corn meal. Add a little water and when a ball has formed, remove it and knead it for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel until you are ready to roll it out.
2 packages spinach cooked and drained
4 tablespoons chopped onions
4 tablespoons Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon creamed butter
4 tablespoons Mortadella (an Italian cold cut that can be found in the deli section of most supermarkets)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (mix with the spinach)
Cook the spinach for just 1-2 minutes and squeeze out all of the water. It should be absolutely dry.
Sauté the onions and the Mortadella in the butter for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms at the end for an additional minute. Allow the mixture to cool.
1 lb. Ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yoke
Salt to taste
Mix all of the cheese filling ingredients until it is well blended.
Roll the dough out to 10”x16”. Spread the cheese mixture over the dough leaving about 1” around the edges. Spread the spinach mixture over the cheese layer. Fold the side edges in and roll it length wise similar to a jellyroll.
Place the roll on the cheesecloth and roll it securing the ends with kitchen string. Leave a little room at the ends for the dough to expand. Place the pasta roll in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
In a pan large enough to hold the pasta roll, boil salted water. Turn it down to a gentle boil before placing the pasta roll into the water. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove it from the water and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth. Warm the plates in the plate warmer section of your oven if you have one or turn your oven on to 180 degrees. Put a layer of sauce on the plate, and cut the pasta roll into 1” slices placing them on top of the sauce.
Note: Since the pasta roll is 10”x16” you need a poaching pan. If you don’t have such a pan, you can make the pasta roll in 2 pieces. If you have a casserole dish large and deep enough you may be able to use it if it can be put on top of a stove burner.
Note: Cheesecloth can be found in your Super Market, it may be called gauze. It is usually called cheesecloth in kitchen specialty stores.
Tomato and Béchamel Sauce for Pasta Roll
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes, 4 minutes for béchamel sauce
Yield: 4 Servings as a main course, or 6 as a first dish
1/3 cup each chopped carrots, celery and onions
1 lb. can kitchen ready tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon sugar
Sauté the carrots, celery and onions until the onions are slightly soft. Place the remaining ingredients in the pan and cook for 1/2 hour. Salt to taste.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warm milk
Melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour stirring constantly until it becomes a paste. Add the warm milk little at a time blending it into the paste. As the sauce becomes thick make adjustments adding more flour or milk depending on the consistency of the sauce. It should be a thick white sauce.
Mix the two sauces together when using this recipe for the pasta roll and place a layer of the sauce on a warm plate, then placing slices of the pasta roll on top.