Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's for Dinner? Fresh Pasta Roulade with Squash and Caramelized Onions

This one was a fun one to make, until all disaster broke loose and it was time to cook the beast. I don't know what possessed me to make such an involved dish, I suppose it was the picture in the cookbook that convinced me.
Now, you know, I'm not a big fan of cookbooks, but this butternut squash, spinach and ricotta roulade was just something I hadn't made before, so I had to try it! Sure, I've had all of those ingredients separately, and together as well, but the technique of 'rolling-up' the pasta was something I foreign to me.

First I roasted the butternut squash chunks with EVOO, and coriander seeds, fennel seeds, salt and chili, that had been bashed-up with my pestle and mortar. I let them roast until they were over-done and easy to mash. In a pan, I caramelized onions and garlic (both from the farm, and which I love, because they keep so darn long in the fridge). I added the mashed squash and stirred it all together with some cream to loosen it up.
I made the fresh pasta in the morning, and then rolled it out to the thinnest size which took some effort. I attached all he pieces on a tea towel like a quilt, using my thumb and a bit of water to press the edges together.

Then I scattered over the squash and onions, then some ricotta, then a little bit of rich tomato sauce for colour and I rolled everything as if rolling a jelly-role. (Note: I didn't have any spinach, or chard, or leafy greens, so I used basil leaves). Once it was rolled, I tied the ends with butcher's twine, then proceeded to wrap it in parchment paper and put the long in a pan of simmering water. This is where I was in trouble: the log was too long for the pan, but I shoved it in anyways....

Simmer for 30 minutes, then take out, garnish with Parmigiana Reggiano, more caramelized onions, chilli flakes, a bechemel sauce if you like, and a nice slice of fennel to cut the richness.


  1. Hey Claire,

    Did you know Fennel seeds help with digestion? In Germany, the hospitals give new born babies Fennel tea. It is also a big part of the Indian dishes. Fennel seeds are a must in every curry.

    btw, I will never try to make past by myself. You are a brave cook. :)


  2. Hey Vic :)
    I did know fennel was a digestive aid, but it's news to me that it is fed to newborns. I love learning about other culture's uses for certain foods we take for granted.
    I do love Indian flavours because they incorporate fennel and coriander as well as Garahm Masala and other earthy spices.
    Parsley receives praise for soothing water retention, and cinnamon aid high blood pressure.
    It's a wonder why people take medications when they can use herbs instead!