Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Fresh Scent of Pasta Roses

As many of you know, I love roses....I'll make a rose out of anything. I love when life imitates art or nature. So twenty years ago when I saw a recipe by Marcella Hazan for Pasta Roses, I had no choice but to try it. Throughout the years, I've lightened it and adapted it to my taste. According to Marcella Hazan, the recipe originated in Romagna, Italy and is a stunning presentation of rolled pasta with a rosy cream sauce. It originated in a time and place where the gentle and yet robust art of cooking was more of a family affair. Engage a family member or friend while rolling your roses and you'll enjoy a meal made with love. Or you may make it yourself and dazzle them with your creation. This dish is an art and not a science. You may use long curly edged lasagna noodles, shorter and wider lasagna pasta or even fresh pasta. I used 3 x 7 inch flat lasagna pasta and cut it in half lengthwise after boiling. I even used any broken pieces to make "rosebuds". Just follow the basics and enjoy the fresh scent of Pasta Roses wafting from your kitchen.

Pasta Roses

1/2 pound lasagna pasta*, boiled "al dente" with 1 tablespoon oil
olive oil for coating pasta
1/2 pound ham, very thinly sliced
1/3 pound fontina cheese
1 1/2 cups red pasta sauce (use your favorite sauce)
1/2 cup cream or half and half
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup (about) grated Parmesan cheese

*use flat or curly edged lasagna pasta

You'll need a 7 x 11 inch baking dish.

Coat the boiled lasagna with olive oil so it doesn't stick together, and let cool. While the pasta cools, very thinly slice the fontina cheese in 1 inch strips.
Mix the red pasta sauce, cream, and a pinch of nutmeg together. Coat the bottom of the baking dish with this sauce.

When the pasta is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Lay a pasta length on a board and then add a thin 1 inch layer of ham and the cheese. It is not necessary to cover the whole piece, it should be somewhat sparsely placed. Then lightly roll the pasta, from the shorter side. Add the pasta rolls to the dish, with the open side of the roll at the top and bottom of the dish. Arrange the pasta so it is evenly spaced in the dish and loosen any rolls if needed. After adding all of the rolled pasta "roses" to the baking dish, top with the remaining sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You may refrigerate it to bake later at this point. If you are baking right away, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. If you are baking it from the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature before baking.

Serves 4-6.

Written and photographed by Diane.

Download Pasta Roses recipe (pdf)

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La Table De Nana said...

I cannot tell you how I love this post,
It is in it's entirety..beautiful and I will absolutely make it.
With fresh pasta.. I would cook it first also? Yes I am sure..I am new to fresh..this will be so beautiful..
I love Marcella Hazan and have one of her books.A friend made me her polpettone,I craved it afterwards and found the book on the net..It's a classic w/ the dried porcinis..Thanks so much for sharing this one!
I love everything about it.

2 Stews said... are so sweet! I checked and Marcella Hazan uses fresh pasta in this dish and only boils it for seconds. I also looked for her Polpettone , and will certainly try looks delicious...thanks!

Pearl said...

oh my gosh - the roses are beautiful! you don't want me serving these - my guests will end up staring in awe at these roses and then choose not to eat them because they're way too precious! thanks for sharing! you gals are so talented!

The Messy Baker said...

Gorgeous. I had no idea you could make pasta roses. I've got to file this one away for Mother's Day or some other such occasion.

Almost too pretty to eat.

I'm so impressed with your artistry!

Unknown said...

wow..very beautiful!

MGS said...

I can NOT wait to make these. I hope they turn out as beautiful as yours. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sarah said...

very clever!

Anonymous said...

that looks fantastic! and I really appreciate how you highlighted the aesthetic of the dish without making it seem too intimidating.

I'm going to bookmark this one to try for company! How long do you think it would be safe to leave the "roses" in the fridge before baking? could this be a "night-before" dish?

2 Stews said...

bluejeangourmet....If you make it the night before, it should be fine. I think I'd put the sauce and Parmesan cheese on right before baking, so the sauce doesn't soak into the pasta. Also for overnight refrigerating, an oven proof glass baking dish might be the best, and then bring it to room temperature before heating.
I hope you enjoy it and have fun!


a quiet life said...

oh this came out so cute! i love your real and faux combo, just stunning, and delish, a fab combo! such gorgeous pics, i was looking yesterday at pasta rose pics, nothing came out as cute as yours!

La Table De Nana said...

The dish is beautiful at FG too:)

I already checked my pantry to make sure I had pasta I had to ccok:)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Sensational dish!

Memória said...

Wow! How creative and beautiful these are!

Kacey said...

It's so pretty! What a great idea!

Marta said...

Oh wow! I had never heard of pasta roses! I guess they are like free-shape cannelloni, but they look lovely!!!! I agree, immitating nature makes food so much more appealing :)

chocolatecup said...

this is absolutely pretty:) it looks like a table bouquet:)

Monique in TX said...

How do you keep them from unrolling as you place them in the dish? Eventually the dish will be full enough to hold them together, but how do you manage until then?

2 Stews said...

Hi Monique in TX...In answer to your question, I always put the end of the rolled edge against either the edge of the pan or another roll. If they unroll slightly and loosen up, it can give them a more natural appearance. Just make sure they don't unroll too much. I like the nonuniform look of different sizes. As we know, lasagna pasta breaks as it cooks, but no worries...put the uneven side adds to the charm. Also, ones that unroll a little more, get extra sauce inside ;-)
Good luck...


Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Diane! These are breathtaking ~ and too pretty to eat. Honestly if these were served to me I would be too smitten to touch my fork to them.

What a beautiful post; you NEVER cease to amaze me. :) VERY nice!

Hello My Name is Katie said...

oh wow. this is definitely a good way to start off following your blog. that's really amazing. god bless you for having the patience to do this. i am literally in awe.

Karen @ Mignardise said...

What a fabulous idea!
So creative and delicious.

gaga said...


test it comm said...

Pasta roses are a great idea. They looks really nice!

Lisa said...

I made these many years ago, but with two small children, it was hard to find time to roll out the pasta. I'm now ready to dust off my machine. Any suggestions on a course to follow this lovely dish:

2 Stews said...

Lisa...aren't you ambitious to use fresh pasta! They'll be beautiful, I'm sure. These are a full first course on their own if served with a green salad. You could also make our "Lighter Chicken Parmesan",

and serve just a few roses on the side...that would be lovely. Also, as an appetizer to this entree, our "Baby Artichokes Roman Style",

would be tasty! Refer to my rose themed post, "Through Rose Colored Glasses",

for more ideas. Thanks for your interest...I hope you enjoy them!


Marie F. said...

Unbelievable, I have never seen anything like this, very creative and nice photos too!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to make this! I'm going to make this for a non-traditional xmas dinner. One of the folks is vegetarian and not a fan of ricotta. Any ideas of a meatless/ricotta-free stuffing I can use instead of ham?


2 Stews said... thoughtful of you to think of your friend! Two things came into my mind to substitute the ham with. You could still use the fontina cheese and spread a thin layer of Boursin cheese on it. The herbs would go nicely with the pasta dish. My other thought was to substitute both the ham and fontina with a smoked gouda cheese. Gouda has the same creaminess as the fontina. Smoked cheese is a personal taste, so make sure to consider that. I hope that helps.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays!


Anonymous said...

this looks absolutely beautiful and delicious

Steve said...

Just came across this, looking for something unique to make for Valentine's Day. Beautiful- this will fit the bill for one of the courses.