Comfort food doesn’t come much more comforting than this! This Spinach, Mushroom & Ricotta Rotolo is the food equivalent of a big hug and a cosy blanket. Even that crisp, golden crust of melted mozzarella on its own is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face, isn’t it?

I accept that the ingredients in this recipe read like those of a Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne. Right down to the use of lasagne sheets. However, it’s the way that they’re used that makes this feel a little more special. It also makes the end result a lot easier to serve up – and a lot less “sloppy” to eat.

Here, instead of layering the sauces and pasta you take a slightly different approach. The lasagne sheets are coated with the spinach and ricotta mixture, before being rolled up into swirls. These are then placed upright into the tomato sauce to be baked in the oven. The end result is a bit like a mini canneloni casserole…

I believe that the traditional Italian method is a little more complicated than what I’ve created here. Indeed, I’ve seen some recipes that demand a sheet of home-made pasta from which a large, filled roulade is made. I don’t have either the time nor the space to do that.

Instead, I like to think of this as one of those “Nigella Express”-style shortcuts – where you cut down on the process without sacrificing the flavour. As such, I accept that calling it Rotolo may be slightly conentious with some traditionalists. However, for everyone else this is a truly delicious dish that is the perfect companion on a cold winter’s evening.

Spinach, Mushroom & Ricotta Rotolo

Rich tomato sauce, creamy ricotta and spinach filling and crispy, melted mozzarella. Comfort food doesn’t come much more comforting than this!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pasta, Vegetarian
Servings: 4


for the Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 800 g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

for the Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Filling

  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 200 g Mushrooms sliced
  • 350 g Frozen Spinach defrosted
  • 500 g Ricotta
  • 50 g Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

for the Pasta

  • 300 g Dried Lasagne Sheets or Fresh if you can find them
  • 100 g Grated Mozzarella


for the Tomato Sauce

  • Heat a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the chopped onions. Sauté for 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato purée, sugar, oregano and chilli flakes to the pan and stir through the onion mixture. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes until thickened and darker in colour. Stir occasionally to ensure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan.
  • When cooked turn off the heat taste and season to taste. Keep the sauce warm until needed.

for the Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Filling

  • Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in a splash of oil for 10-15 minutes until they’re tender and golden. Drain off any excess moisture and put to one side.
  • Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all excess water – use a tea towel or strong kitchen towel to help.
  • Put the ricotta into a large bowl and stir until creamy. Add in the parmesan, egg, garlic powder and nutmeg and mix until combined. Add the mushrooms and spinach to the ricotta mixture and stir until well distributed throughout.

for the Pasta

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C
  • If you’re using Fresh Pasta then skip this step. If you’re using dried pasta then continue… Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the lasagne sheets and cook for 5 minutes. You want them to be softened enough to roll but not so soft that they break. Remove from the water and dry individually on greaseproof paper to avoid them sticking together.
  • Spread approximately 2 tbsp of the ricotta mixture onto each sheet then roll them up – you want them to be like little swiss rolls. You then want to cut them in half – so that each is around 4cm in length.
  • Pour the tomato sauce into the base of an oven-proof dish. Stand the rolls of filled pasta into the tomato sauce in an upright position, so that they’re poking out of the top of the sauce. You want them to sit just proud of the sauce. When the dish has been filled cover with foil and put into the oven for 20 minutes to cook.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle over the grated mozzarella. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes and bake until the cheese is golden and melted.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

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