Mushroom, aubergine & spinach ‘Rotolo-ish’ Pasta:
Prep: 30 mins.
Cooking: 30 mins.
Serves: 2 to 4
Rating: 3: Moderate, but take it easy and you’ll be able to do it.
For the tomato sauce:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 6-8 fresh torn basil leaves – yes, it does actually make a difference.
- 300 g nice, red & ripe (or even over-ripe) tomatoes, peeled (see Tricks’n’Tips), seeds removed & chopped. (If you can’t find any, just use a can of chopped tomatoes and then double the dose of tomato puree.)
- A good squeeze of a tomato puree tube (about four inches or so)
- Seasoning to taste
For the filling
- 250 g spinach
- 1 large aubergine, cubed to 1cm
- 100g mushrooms, whatever you can get but make ‘em tasty ones if you can
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp chopped marjoram (well, dried marjoram/oregano will do even though fresh is preferable, but hey, who’s gonna know the difference….. is Delia comin’ to dinner? Nah!)
- 50 g freshly grated parmesan
- Clean tea-towel (or you could use cling-film instead)
For the pasta:
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- Take about 6 sheets of lasagne and drop ‘em into boiling water, trying to keep ‘em separate cos you need the sheets to still be sheet-like and not stuck together.
- Boil for 10 mins and remove from the water. Retain the water for now.
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a lowish heat, sweating the garlic until softened but not at all coloured.
- Add all the tomatoes & purée and the basil leaves, then cook slowly for 25 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
For the filling:
- Wilt (see Tricks’n’Tips) the spinach in butter and a splash of water, and leave to cool. Remove, squeeze out any remaining water then chop roughly (the spinach, not the water).
- Chop the aubergine into cubes, chop the mushrooms and fry them until they become quite coloured.
- Combine the spinach, aubergine, muggies and ricotta together in a bowl, then mix well with your fingers.
- Add the egg yolk and marjoram and mix in well using a wooden spoon.
- Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a grind of black pepper.
Place the wet & floppy lasagne sheets, overlapping (by an inch or less) in a 3X2 formation, side by side on a large clean tea towel (or use cling film instead), making one large pasta sheet. Spread the filling evenly over this.
- Fold over the edge of pasta nearest to you then, using the tea towel (or cling film) and the weight of the pasta to help, roll up the pasta and filling like you would a Swiss roll.
- Brush the open edge of the pasta with a little water and press to seal the cylinder.
- Wrap tightly in the tea towel (it was a clean one, wasn’t it? – you could have USED CLING FILM!), then tie the cylinder every 10cm and the ends of the towel with kitchen string. (I know it’s a ruddy phaph, but just do it and stop whingin’….!)
- Bring a large pan/oven tin or fish kettle of water to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Place the roll in the water and poach for 12-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.
- Remove and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
- Gently untie the rotolo, as it has now become, and cut into slices 1cm thick.
- Arrange them in an oval earthenware dish, open ends upwards.
- Cover with the tomato sauce then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until just coloured, and serve immediately.
Sounds good, eh?
Tell yer wot – it looks and tastes better than that!