With my sister being a vegetarian, well actually, pescatarian, she does eat fish and seafood, thank goodness, we do eat a lot of vegetarian meals. A few times a week the rest of the family join Liz in her quest for animal welfare and an end to factory farming and the inhumane processes of getting meat onto our plates. So we have something that no animals were harmed in the making of. And to be honest, these are some of my favourite nights!
While it does feel good to give the old intestines a break from the hard task of processing the, let’s face it, larger than ‘recommended’, quantities of meat many of us consume every other day, it does also feel like it might just help out a little with the environmental and animal welfare factors. With the worldwide demand for meat currently growing, the issue of carbon pollution and cow ’emissions’ identified as one of the biggest threats to our planet, not to mention some of the absolutely atrocious conditions some of these poor animals have to endure in life and in death, I think anything we can do to reduce the demand and consumption of meat is a good idea.
Perfect for autumn as the weather is cooling down, this rotolo is full of vege and packed with flavour. Plus it’s good for you body, the animals and the environment.
Inspired by Jamie Olivers Rotolo
- ½ butternut pumpkin
- 1 brown onion, diced
- Olive oil
- 1 bunch of spinach or silverbeet, roughly chopped
- 200g ricotta
- Pinch of nutmeg (I prefer to use a whole nutmeg and grate it)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 jar of passata
- ½ tsp raw sugar
- 6 large fresh pasta sheets
- 10 sage leaves
- 150g salted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cook the pumpkin on a roasting tray for around 45 minutes, then remove from the oven. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion, put it into a medium pan on a medium-low heat with a lug of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for
- minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped spinach, cover with a lid and allow to slowly cook for another
- minutes, remove lid and stir until all spinach has wilted and cooked, then remove from the heat. Cut the pumpkin in half, discard the seeds and skin, then mash up with a fork, season with salt and pepper. Once the spinach and onion has cooled, place in a bowl with the ricotta, season with salt and a grating of nutmeg.
- Place the garlic in a casserole dish on a medium heat with a splash of oil and fry for a couple of minutes, or until lightly golden. Pour in the passata, then add a splash of water to the empty jar, swirl it around and pour it into the pan. Add sugar and season with salt to taste. Bring to the boil, simmer for just 3 minutes.
- On a clean work surface, lay out the pasta sheets facing lengthways away from you. Working quickly so your pasta doesn't dry out, brush them with water, then evenly divide and add a line of spinach and ricotta on the end of the sheets, followed by a line of pumpkin. Roll up the sheets and cut each one into 4 chunks, then place side by side in the tomato sauce. Please a lid on the casserole and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Just before the rotolo is ready, place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, once melted, increase the heat to high and add the sage leaves. Cook until the butter is just starting to brown and the sage is going crisp, a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat immediately, butter can go from brown to burnt very quickly.
- Dish up your rotolo, drizzle with a good amount of brown butter and crispy sage and you have a complete meal. I never feel bad about not having a salad side dish with this pasta.