Flaky Ricotta Rolls

These '21st century sausage rolls' are suitable for vegetarians and can be gluten free if you use a gluten free pastry. Many thanks to AGA Demonstrator Naomi Hansell for this lovely recipe. 

Flaky Ricotta Rolls on the AGA for Spode Blue Italian Tray

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

250g spinach, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

250g butternut squash, roasted and cubed (1cm cubes approx)

A tub of ricotta (usually 240g - 300g)

Finely grated lemon rind, from one lemon

2 large handfuls of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (optional)

25g parmesan, finely grated

300g puff pastry, either homemade or ready rolled

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, black sesame seeds or dried herbs (optional)

Makes 24 bite-sized rolls

1. First make the filling by heating the oil in a medium sized pan, cooking the onion until soft on the simmering plate or the floor of the roasting oven, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for 5 mins then add the spinach. Cook for a further 3 - 5 minutes until wilted.

2. Move to the boiling plate briefly to cook off the juices, the mixture should be quite dry if possible. Cool.

3. Place in a large bowl and add the roasted squash, ricotta, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, parmesan and season well with salt and pepper.

4. To assemble and bake, take the pastry out of the fridge and rest at room temperature for 30 mins. Roll out into a rectangle shape, approx 35cm x 25cms if necessary. Cut into two pieces along the length of the rectangle. Take one piece and place half the mixture along one edge of the pastry, shaping into a long thin log the full length of the long side. Roll to enclose the filling, brushing the final edge with beaten egg before closing to seal.

5. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds or herbs (optional). Chill to firm up the pastry before cutting into bite-sized rolls.

6. Place on a baking tray and bake in the AGA roasting oven for 25 minutes then allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving, or cool and serve cold.

Tips: to roast the butternut squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and cook in the roasting oven for 45 - 60 mins until tender. Leave the skin on and then just cut into small cubes to use in the recipe. If you are short on time, just grate some raw squash and cook along with the garlic. The recipe can be made in advance as far as shaping into logs and frozen. Bake straight from frozen, allowing 30 minutes or until the rolls are browned.