Lasagna rosettes with Pecorino cheese, black pepper and honey

Hello and welcome to my kitchen in Rome, my friends.

Easter and other spring holidays are coming soon, and with this month’s recipe, I’d like to show you how to make an impressive and delicious dish with very little effort.

In Italy, the rosette di lasagna, also named nidi di rondine (swallow nests) or girelle, are delicate rolls of paper-thin pasta sheets filled with a variety of meats, cheese and or vegetables. The original dish, filled with mushrooms, ham and cheese, comes from Modena in Emilia Romagna.

Outside of Italy the rosettes are also named rollatini, lasagna roll-ups or lasagna pinwheels.

I have first tasted this delicate version of the “nidi di rondine” at the lovely Trattoria del Moro Aronne in Orvieto. The combination of cheese and honey is fantastic. When well executed, the nidi will make a heavenly centerpiece of a holiday meal or special Sunday lunch. You will note that the recipe is simple but requires precision and organization.

Ingredients

For the lasagna sheets

  • 250 g (8 oz) fresh lasagna sheets (the ones I use measure 22×18 cm – 7×5 inches)
  • 150 g ricotta (5 oz)
  • 180 g (6 oz) young Pecorino or other mild-flavored sheep’s milk cheese, thinly sliced
  • 8 tablespoon grated Parmigiano
  • 2–3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Essential ingredients and substitution

Cheese

The quality of the cheese is key to this recipe. Young Pecorino is flavorful, not overly salty, and melts without releasing moisture. If not available, use another sheep’s milk cheese with similar qualities and if you must use cow’s milk cheese, substitute the grated Parmigiano with Pecorino Romano.

Lasagna sheets

This recipe does not rely on a sauce to cook the lasagna sheets, so it works better with fresh lasagna sheets briefly soaked in hot salted water. I recommend buying the thinnest possible sheets with no curls, or to make the pasta sheets yourself. Boiling or soaking the sheets is essential.

If you use store bought dry pasta, even if it is “no-boil”, you will need to parboil the sheets until pliable but not completely cooked. Time will vary depending on quality and thickness of the pasta sheets, but note that the recipe will not work with thick or curly store bought sheets.

Undercooked sheets will result in rolls with an unpleasant chewy texture. On the other hand, too wet or overcooked sheets will fall apart, making it impossible to roll.

Recipe

Mise en place

  • Whip the ricotta until smooth with a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to obtain a soft, spreadable mixture.
  • Grate the Parmigiano cheese.
  • Oil or butter a 20 cm (8 inch) round roasting pan, preferably with removable sides. If you don’t have a small pan, use kitchen string as explained below.
  • Shave the young Pecorino very thinly.
  • Boil 6 cups of water, pour in a wide shallow bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir.

Assemble the lasagna rosettes:

  1. Soak one pasta sheet in the salted hot water for 20 seconds, then strain with a slotted spoon and lay on your worktop.how to use fresh lasagna sheets

2. Using a silicone spatula, spread a thin layer of ricotta on each pasta sheet.

Layer the shaved cheese on top of the ricotta, sprinkle with Parmigiano, a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper.

how to make lasagna rollatini

3. Roll up the sheet by the short side and cut it into 3 pieces. I strongly suggest to experiment with one single roll before making the rest and adjust as needed.

Store-bought lasagna sheets might have completely different dimensions than the one obtained with a pasta machine. There is no need to trim the sheets, just make sure to obtain rolls which are approximately 3 cm (1 and 1/4 inch) in diameter and 4 cm (1 and 1/2 inch) high.

how to make lasagna rosettes

4. The rolls will flatten slightly after cutting. Press them lightly around the sides to bring them back to a round shape. Place rolls, cut side up, in the greased roasting pan.

To make sure they cook in a standing position, tie them with kitchen string if – like myself – you are making a smaller portion and don’t have a suitably small pan.

5. Pour about 1/4 teaspoon of cream inside each roll. The cream will keep them moist inside while they crisp up outside.

6. Bake in preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) until the top starts to become golden. Decrease temperature of 20° if using fan. Don’t overcook!

7. Plate, drizzle lightly raw honey and serve immediately as a first course.

Italian nidi di lasagna recipe

With the pasta sheets I use, this recipe makes 36 roll-ups, which serve 4-6 in a multi-course meal. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi
    Leticia
    Do you have to soak the pasta sheets and hot water if they are fresh?
    Thanks

    • Hello Fran, lovely to hear from you! Soaking (fresh pasta) or parboiling (dry pasta) is essential for this recipe.

Comments are closed.