Rotolo of beetroot leaves and ricotta


  • Serves 6 people

  • 400 gm (leaves of 3 bunches) beetroot leaves, trimmed and washed (see note)
  • 400 gm baby spinach leaves
  • 350 gm ricotta, coarsely crumbled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup (about 2 bunches, loosely packed) marjoram leaves
  • 180 gm butter
  • onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 20 gm (¼ cup) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • For dusting: semolina flour
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Pasta dough
  • 250 gm “00” flour (see note)
  • 2 free-range eggs
01   For pasta dough, sift flour and a pinch of salt onto a clean bench. Make a well in centre, add eggs and using a fork gradually work eggs into flour until combined. Knead dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky add more flour. Wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes.
02   Preheat oven to 220C. Blanch beetroot and spinach leaves in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well, squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop. Set aside.
03   Scatter ricotta over a greased and lined oven tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste. Bake for 15 minutes or until starting to brown.
04   Coarsely chop half the marjoram leaves and set aside. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Add beetroot and spinach leaves, chopped marjoram and season to taste. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Cool and combine with ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and season to taste.
05   Using a pasta machine with rollers at widest setting, feed dough, lightly dusted with semolina flour, through rollers. Fold dough in half lengthways, feed through rollers again, repeating until smooth, reducing settings notch by notch until dough is translucent and 2mm thick. Cut pasta sheets into 40cm lengths, join 3 side by side, brushing long edges with water and overlapping slightly, then press to join edges to form a single piece about 40cm square.
06   Carefully place pasta sheet on a clean non-fibrous tea towel. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over pasta, leaving a 10cm strip at edge farthest away from you. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll pasta in the tea towel away from you firmly to enclose pasta and filling. Secure ends of tea towel with string and at regular intervals to ensure it keeps its shape during cooking.
07   Line a 10cm deep baking dish or fish kettle with a clean tea towel, then place the rotolo on top. Cover with cold water and bake for 40 minutes. Using tongs carefully transfer the rotolo to a chopping board or platter. Unwrap tea towel and using a sharp knife cut rotolo into 6 slices.
08   Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan over high heat, add remaining marjoram leaves and cook for 3 minutes or until marjoram is crisp and butter browned. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Place rotolo slices on plates, drizzle with butter, scatter with parmesan and serve.
Note If beetroot leaves are unavailable, substitute with baby spinach. "00" flour is commonly used for making pasta and is available from select delicatessens and speciality food stores.
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