The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning on Christmas Day and ending with the twelfth night on the evening of January 5th.
My husband C and I have developed a detailed plan to eat our way through the Twelve Days of Christmas.
So, let’s start with our Christmas lunch.

If you ask me what my mother gave me last Christmas it’ll probably take some time for me to recall, and it would probably be something else …but ask me what my mother cooked last Christmas for lunch, and it will take one second for me to say.
Rotolo di spinaci, as always! In my family we simply love it, and we’re perfectly happy to have it year after year and won’t care for anything else.
After all, we have other 364 lunches over the year to try something new… why spoil this family tradition?
Being in Canada this Christmas is not a valid reason not to enjoy the same food traditions we would be enjoying were we at home, so on this Christmas morning C and I set out to do our first rotolo without any intervention by my mother.
First of all, we made the fresh pasta, combining 2 eggs and some 200 gr flour to the desired consistency.
While the dough was resting covered for half an hour or so, we did the filling, mixing 250 gr ricotta cheese with a bunch of spinach (boiled and then shredded), a generous pinch of grated nutmeg and a lot of parmesan.
Then we started the sauce, simply with oil, onion, tomato and basil.
While the sauce was thickening, we rolled the dough in one rectangle to a thickness of 1-2 mm and spread the ricotta-spinach mix on it.

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After that, we made the actual spinach roll and enclosed it tightly in a double thickness of cheese cloth (as we don’t have a non-dyed tea towel), tied at both ends with butcher twine.
We put a large pan of water to boil, then added the salt and lowered the roll into the pan (carefully, to avoid overflowing): the roll has to be cooked for 30-45 minutes depending on roll diameter (30 mins for about 7 cm, 45 minutes for 10 cm).
When the roll is half-way, we preheated the oven to 350 F (180°C).
When roll is cooked, we took it out of the water and freed it from the towel: then on a cutting board we sliced it (1 cm thick) and we arranged the slices on a baking sheet, leaving no space between one and the other.

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Finally we poured a generous dollup of tomato sauce on each slice and then grated parmesan.

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We put it in the oven for 20 minutes, until the cheese has formed a nice golden crust, and then we ate it straight from the oven.

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Orecchiette / Comments

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