Festive Filo Rotolo
This delicious festive rotolo makes a great centrepiece, perfect served with roasted heritage carrots.
To make the pastry and roasted squash filling
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan)/375°F (325°F fan)/gas mark 5 (gas mark 3 fan).
Chop the squash into cubes of approximately 1 cm, dress with the olive oil and the thyme. Halve the garlic through the middle and place, cut side down, on the baking tray with the squash. Grind the pink peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and stir into the squash. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the squash is soft and starting to caramelise at the edges, stir it a few times during cooking. While the squash is roasting, prepare the spinach and the artichoke fillings.
Once the squash is cooked, remove any thyme stalks and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and roughly mash it into the squash. Add the gram flour, season to taste.
To make the spinach with mustard seeds and tofu
Wash the spinach in a colander and whilst still wet put in a saucepan with a lid. Heat gently, stirring often until the spinach starts to wilt, then put on the lid for a couple of minutes so the spinach is all wilted. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as you can with the back of a spoon. Meanwhile heat the oil in the same saucepan which you wilted the spinach in and add the mustard seeds and nutmeg. When the seeds begin to pop add the squeezed spinach and stir well. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tofu and gram flour.
To make the roasted walnuts with artichokes
In a baking tray toss the walnut halves in the olive oil and add the smoked paprika and salt. Roast at 190°C (170°C fan)/375°F (325°F fan)/gas mark 5 (gas mark 3 fan) for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then break up the walnuts in a pestle and mortar.
Chop the artichokes and the flat leaf parsley finely and then stir them into the walnuts. Squeeze on the lemon and stir well. Add salt to taste.
To construct the rotolo
Place a large piece of tin foil on a work surface.
On top of the foil place a sheet of filo placed in landscape position, brush with oil. Lay a second sheet above the first with a 10 cm overlap. Brush the second sheet with oil. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over the filo.
Layer two more whole sheets of filo pastry on top in the same way, then another two. Make sure you brush oil in between each layer. Place the last sheet of filo in the bottom position and brush with oil
Spread the roasted squash over the central area of the bottom piece of filo into a rectangle sized 30 cm long and 15 cm wide.
Spread the spinach evenly over the surface of the squash leaving a margin of 1cm of squash clear top and bottom.
Place the artichoke mixture down the middle on top of the spinach mixture in a long sausage shape.
Working carefully, and using the foil to help you roll, start to roll up the rotolo. Make sure the artichoke stays as a central sausage shape and the squash mixture meets to create a round shape. Roll half way up the filo length. Gently and loosely tuck in both ends to seal in the fillings, folding the filo in by 5 cm up the length of the filo, then continue to roll up the length. When you come to the end of the filo you should have a tidy round sausage shape.
Position the rotolo using the foil to lift it onto a baking tray. Bake at 190°C (170°C fan)/375°F (325°F fan)/gas mark 5 (gas mark 3 fan) for 40 minutes until golden. Check after 20 and 30 minutes, you may need to cover parts of the filo loosely with the foil as it may brown unevenly depending on your oven. If it’s browning all over too quickly, turn the oven down by 10 degrees for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
To decorate the rotolo
Place the pecans and maple syrup in a small saucepan, boil the maple syrup to reduce and thicken so the pecans are evenly coated. Tip the pecans out onto parchment to cool down.
Decorate the top of the filo roll once it comes out of the oven with the cranberries, pecans, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage leaves.
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Demuth, for Meat Free Monday
“‘Rotolo’ is an Italian dish (traditionally made with sheets of pasta Rotolo means “Roll”). Our festive version is great centre piece dish, served with roasted heritage carrots. You can also slice it thinly and serve it as a starter.
The rotolo can be cooked straight away and reheated on the day, or make up to a day in advance and bake off on the day. You can also make it in stages; make the fillings up a day or two in advance, then assemble it bake off on the day. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before cooking then bake off as per instructions.”
Find more of Rachel’s recipes on her blog: demuths.co.uk/rachels-blog