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Pasta Rotolo with Spinach and Ricotta
3½ hours 1½ hours active
Rotolo di ricotta e spinaci—or ricotta and spinach roll—is a rolled lasagna-like dish that resembles slices of jelly roll. We learned to make it in Rome from Annamaria Moretti, owner of the shop Pasta all’Uovo. The dish typically is prepared with homemade sheets of pasta, but after a bit of trial and error we found we could layer strips of store-bought “oven-ready” lasagna noodles (look for 7-by-3½-inch noodles; we like those made by Barilla and Ronzoni) to create sheets. Though intended to be used dry, we cook them briefly so they soften enough to roll around the cheese and spinach filling. For make-ahead convenience, the rolls can be frozen overnight, then thawed for 10 minutes until soft enough to slice and bake. (If freezing overnight, be sure to also refrigerate the reserved pasta water that’s added to the tomatoes for making the sauce.)
pound bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed
15- or 16-ounce containers whole-milk ricotta cheese