Spinach & ricotta rotolo


Theo Randall shares his recipe for a classic Italian dish that transforms homemade pasta into something special – our step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow


  • 1kg spinach
  • 1 garlic clove , finely sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tsp chopped marjoram or oregano
  • 500g ricotta
  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated, plus a little extra to serve
  • ½ quantity Theo’s pasta dough (see tip below)
  • good-quality olive oil , for drizzling

For the simple tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove , finely sliced
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

You will need

  • a pasta machine


  • STEP 1

    Begin by making the Simple tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic clove and cook until just softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and season. Cook slowly for 25 mins, stirring now and then, until very thick. Do this a day or two ahead of assembling the rotolo, or freeze it for up to 2 months.

  • STEP 2

    Wilt the spinach in a pan over a medium heat, then leave to cool. Squeeze well to remove the excess water, then roughly chop the spinach. Season and leave to cool completely.

  • STEP 3

    Gently fry the garlic in the butter until softened, then remove from the heat and add the marjoram. Tip into a bowl and add the spinach, ricotta and Parmesan.

  • STEP 4

    Roll out the pasta (see step-by-step images). Cut the sheets into 3 or 4 pieces, each roughly 40cm long, and place them on a white tea towel. Using a little water and a pastry brush, stick the sheets together, allowing a 1cm overlap.

  • STEP 5

    Using a spatula, spread the filling over the pasta as evenly as possible, leaving a 1cm border around the edge.

  • STEP 6

    Fold over the edge of the pasta nearest to you and, using the tea towel and the weight of the pasta, roll it away from you like you would a Swiss roll.

  • STEP 7

    Brush the open edge of the pasta with a little water and press together to seal.

  • STEP 8

    Wrap the pasta roll tightly in the tea towel and tie a piece of string round it every 10cm or so (or use a butcher’s knot – see step-by-step images). Tie the ends with string to secure them, leaving a long piece of string at each end to act as a handle.

  • STEP 9

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (a fish kettle is ideal, but a deep roasting tin filled with water works well too) and cook the rotolo for 20 mins. Remove from the water and leave to cool. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

  • STEP 10

    Gently unwrap the rotolo and cut it into 3cm slices. Arrange the slices in a baking dish. Spoon over the Simple tomato sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 mins until the pasta is hot and crisping around the edges.


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