I eat a lot of ricotta in the warmer months. If it is newly made it can be as delicious as the freshest mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, basil, a fine extra virgin olive oil and a little salt and pepper. If it is not quite as newly made and wobbly and has firmed up a little, it is a perfect ingredient for sweet and savoury baked tarts and fritters and is the backbone of many lovely pasta fillings. The pasta dish below uses gentle ricotta combined with a smaller amount of aristocratic roquefort and the essential parmesan.
For the pasta
100g fresh pasta, rolled to thinnest setting (use your preferred recipe - 100g flour, a pinch of salt and 1 egg will yield the required amount)
1 tbsp butter
For the filling
125g roquefort, crumbled (or other full-flavoured blue cheese)
100g parmesan, grated
1 egg yolk
freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp mascarpone or cream
2 tbsp extra grated parmesan
20 sage leaves
Boil a large pot of water and alongside it a large bowl of very cold water with a good slosh of olive oil. Lay out a dry tea towels on the work bench.
Cut the pasta into 18 centimetre lengths (it will swell). You need two pieces.
Drop pasta into the rapidly boiling water and move it around gently to prevent it sticking.
After two minutes lift into the bowl of cold water. Give it a good swish to cool it down and then lift out and spread on the dry tea towel. If you have extra pasta use it for another dish.
If you have made the pasta ahead of time, layer each piece with baking paper and roll up in plastic film and refrigerate until needed.· Butter an ovenproof dish that is long enough to hold the pasta you now have.
For the filling
Mix all ingredients other than the cream and the extra grated cheese.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Settle one sheet of pasta in the buttered dish. Spread half the filling down the centre like a log. Be gentle as the pasta is delicate. Cover with the second sheet of pasta and spread over the rest of the filling. Fold up the sheets of pasta, and then - be very gentle - roll the filled log of pasta over so that the seam is underneath. Curve the roll slightly as you turn it so that it resembles an old-fashioned jam roly-poly. Spoon the cream over the pasta and scatter with the grated cheese. Cover loosely with an oiled sheet of foil.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil for the last five. Allow roll to settle for 5 minutes before cutting. Cut diagonally into four generous slices.
Melt butter in a very small pan with the sage leaves. When the sage leaves are crisp and the butter is nut-brown spoon it over the portions.
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