Quoted from Anne Casale's Italian Family Cooking cookbook.

Serves 6 - Main Course
Serves 8 - First Course


Make 1 recipe homemade pasta. While dough is resting, prepare sauces and filling.

Tomato Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
½ finely chopped carrot
1 can (35 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, strained through a food mill, juice included
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried basil

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and carrot, turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and basil; mix well with wooden spoon. Cook sauce uncovered over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover pan and set aside.

Bechamel Sauce

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt

1. In a 2½-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. When butter begins to froth, add the flour. Mix well with a wire whisk and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until lightly golden. Add milk and salt; turn heat to low. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk, until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
2. Pour tomato sauce into bechamel sauce and mix thoroughly with whisk. Cover saucepan and set aside.


2 pounds fresh spinach
½ teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 ounces prosciutto, finely diced
1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1. Stem spinach and wash several times in warm water. Place spinach in a 4-quart pot with ½ teaspoon salt and cover (do not add water; the final rinse water clinging to leaves will be sufficient to steam them). Cook over medium heat until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander, refresh under cold water and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Place spinach in a piece of cheesecloth or towel and squeeze again until there is not a drop of moisture left. Finely chop spinach and set aside (can be chopped in food processor fitted with metal blade).
2. In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until lightly golden, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add prosciutto and cook until softened, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until there is no liquid left in pan, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl and add ricotta, Parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add lightly beaten egg yolks and mix well with a fork.
4. Divide filling in half. Set aside.

To Roll By Hand

1. Divide dough in half. Make sure you keep one half covered to prevent drying. 2. On a well-floured board, roll out half of dough into a thin sheet approximately 12 to 14 inches wide by 24 to 26 inches long.

To Assemble And Cook

1. Cut 2 pieces of cheesecloth approximately 8 inches wide and 30 inches long. Dip in water and wring out tightly so that cheesecloth is just damp to the touch.
2. Position sheet of pasta on pastry cloth or towel with narrow end facing you. Leaving a 3-inch margin at edge nearest you and a ½-inch margin at other 3 sides, spread dough with filling using a metal spatula. Fold the 3-inch border up over filling and roll up like a jelly roll. Wrap pasta roll in damp cheesecloth and tie both ends securely with kitchen twine.
3. Prepare second sheet of pasta in same way - fill, roll, wrap and tie.
4. In a 5-quart sauté pan or deep 14-inch skillet, bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil with 1 Tablespoon salt. Place pasta rolls in water. When water returns to a boil, lower heat to medium. Cook rolls for 10 minutes. Gently turn rolls over with two wooden forks and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully lift out pasta rolls with wooden forks and place on a large cutting board. Unwrap the cheesecloth and turn pasta rolls seam side down to cool for about 30 minutes (this will make slicing easier). The rolls will look a little shriveled after you remove cheesecloth.
5. After rolls have cooled down, cut into 1-inch slices.
6. Spread bottom of a large ovenproof platter with about 7 Tablespoons of tomato bechamel sauce. Arrange slices in a slightly overlapping pattern and spoon about 1 Tablespoon of sauce over each slice. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon Parmigiano cheese on top of each slice.
7. Adjust rack to upper third of over and preheat to 350°F. Bake until cheese has melted and turned very lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 3 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining sauce and additional freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.

Note: Pasta rolls can be made up to 2 days before serving. After the rolls are sliced, place in a single layer on a jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Arrange on a platter and finish with with sauce up to 2 hours before serving. Pasta rolls can also be frozen up to one month. Cover with aluminum foil over plastic wrap before freezing. Allow to defrost 2 hours before arranging on platter and finishing off with sauce. The sauce must be made the same day as serving the pasta roll.

I highly recommend making the rolls the day before you intend to serve. It just makes for a less-hectic day. The first time I attempted the recipe, I cooked for 6 straight hours. I also recommend not attempting to make the tomato and bechamel sauces in a half hour like the author suggests. It just isn't worth the hassle. I didn't overlap my sliced rolls either. I also baked them in a lot more tomato bechamel sauce. This is a recipe that can really be improvised as long as you know what will taste good and what won't. But, when it's all said and done, this is a fantastic dish. I served it with garlic bread, a salad, and a Pinot Grigio white wine. My dinner guests are still talking about it.