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Healthy pumpkin & ricotta rotolo

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Making healthy pumpkin and ricotta rotolo

I first enjoyed one of these on my travels years ago in Italy.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to see the rotolo making a comeback.  Rotolo, meaning rolled, is a pasta dish that is easy to make, uses only a few ingredients, and looks pretty special on a plate.

Here’s how you can channel your inner Italian to produce a healthy, vegetarian meal.  Or, if you want to make it a little more naughty, add a tasty burnt butter and sage sauce to it.


  • 1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 350g fresh ricotta. Store bought ricotta is ok too.
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus shaved parmesan to serve
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 fresh lasagne sheets (15cm x 30cm)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • Sage leaves

Starting off with a fresh, brightly coloured pumpkin will greatly assist with the end result.  If the pumpkin is under ripe, the flavour just won’t be there.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Cut the pumpkin up into 2cm pieces.

Place into a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.

Making healthy pumpkin and ricotta rotolo

Sprinkle fennel seeds and dried chilli flakes over the pumpkin.

Cover with a sheet of baking paper and then foil and bake for 40 minutes or until soft.

Note:  The baking paper is a great tip for baking vegetables when you don’t want any colour on them.  Burnt bits, or anything other than the orange of the pumpkin will affect how the final rotolo looks.


Making healthy pumpkin and ricotta rotolo - ingredients

When the pumpkin is soft, drain off the liquid and leave it to sit in the sieve for 30 minutes to ensure all liquid is removed.  Excess liquid is not your friend when it comes to this dish.

Once completely drained, push the pumpkin through a drum sieve (like below) or any other form of sieve you have.  This will result in silky smooth, lump free pumpkin.



sieving the pumpkin for the rotolo

Add the ricotta, shaved parmesan and nutmeg and mix through.

ingredients for pumpkin and ricotta rotolo

This should result in a smooth filling similar to that below.


mixed pumpkin ricotta and parmesan rotolo

I always choose to make my pasta with my fresh chicken eggs.  But, if you’re not into making the pasta, or just don’t have time, buying fresh pasta from the supermarket will work just as well.


making pasta for rotolo

making pasta for rotolo

This part seems tricky, but it is actually quite simple.  I’ve included the photos of all stages of the rolling as I believe this really helps.


The first stage is to dampen a teatowel.  Again, you don’t want it really wet as this will stick to the pasta.

Attach the pasta sheets lengthways and overlap them slightly.

Spread the mixture all over the pasta, leaving a little gap at the very front.  This is where you will start rolling from.


Rolling and filling the rotolo

Start rolling away from you as per the photo below.


Rolling up the rotolo

Keep rolling until you have rolled it completely up and it resembles a log.

Next roll it up gently in the damp tea towel.

Tie the ends with kitchen string as tightly as possible.

completely rolled rotolo


In what appears to be a strange step, place the rotolo into a deep roasting pan or a fish poaching pan.  I have used the fish poacher.

Pour boiling water over the entire rotolo.

Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until al dente.

Once it has cooked, carefully remove the rotolo from the water and let is rest whilst you make the sauce.

Poaching the rotolo

OPTIONAL STEP : For the sauce, melt the butter in a frypan and cook until golden brown, and you get a slightly nutty smell and flavour.  Add the sage leaves and fry until they are crisp.  This won’t take very long.


burnt butter and sage sauce

Unwrap the rotolo from the tea towel – be careful – and cut into thick slices.  Arrange in a bowl and cover with the butter and sage sauce.


pumpkin-and ricotta-rotol-with-burnt-butter-and-sage-sauce

This healthy pumpkin and ricotta rotolo is perfect as an entree or as a larger serving for a main meal.  Of course, adding the butter takes away the really healthy part, but it tastes good, and of course, it is completely optional.


If you know of others who would love to make this recipe too, please feel free to share and pin.


making healthy pumpkin and ricotta rotolo



17 thoughts on “Healthy pumpkin & ricotta rotolo”

  1. This is perfect inspiration! I actually prepped a ton of butternut squash and it’s been in my freezer begging to be used. I make fresh pasta with my kids once a week, so this can easily be our next pastadventure!

  2. Prateek Dasgupta

    Wow, this is a delicious and innovative recipe, I have never had anything like this before! I absolutely love pumpkin and love the flavors you have used including the chili!

  3. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Wow, that looks and sounds wonderful, although it really is a great deal of work. Although, they didn’t build Rome in a day. :) Will add to my list to make when on holidays. YUM!

  4. I personally wouldn’t eat it with rice as it would be a carb overload. My husband is a meat eater – loves meat with everything – but he ate this all on it’s own. It’s actually quite large so was very filling.

  5. Looks delicious. :) Great idea to have a veggies as rotolo, I wonder what would be the perfect combination to eat with healthy pumpkin & ricotta rotolo, it is enough to eat alone or it can also be serve with rice.

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