Tomorrow is my 62nd birthday. I remember as a child of the ’50s thinking that in the year 2000 I would be 48 years old. Ancient. Decrepit.

2000 came and went. Add 14 additional years and 62 doesn’t seem all that bad. Other than a few aches and pains I’m hanging in there. It’s all perspective, I guess…

I did a rare Sunday work, today, so Victor decided it was the perfect day to make me a birthday dinner!  And what a treat it was!

Several years ago, he found a recipe for Ricotta Rollatini – it’s a sheet of pasta spread with a ricotta filling, rolled, boiled, sliced, and baked. Seriously one of the most fantastic pasta dishes on the planet. Mere words cannot explain the lightness and tenderness and sheer deliciousness! Even Nonna went back for seconds – and would have gone for another but she wanted to save room for cake!

The ingredients are simple, the actual preparation and cooking is a bit more complex – but it is totally worth the time and effort. Totally worth it!

Victor started out by making the dough…


The recipe calls for rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Victor used his pasta machine and then just glued two sheets together…


After it’s rolled, no one knows the difference.


From here, the roll gets wrapped in cheesecloth in preparation for its water bath…


Now it gets tricky. You need a pot large enough to hold the rolls. Fortunately, we have a fish poacher we got from our friend, Ruth.


After it cooks in the water, it comes out, cools, and then is sliced and placed in a baking dish with just a bit of sauce.


Just unbelievably good.

Ricotta Rollatini


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • water, if needed


  • 4 oz diced prosciutto
  • 4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Locatelli
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 minced flat-leaf parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper

Make pasta:

Mound flour on counter and make well. Add eggs and yolks and gradually work in the flour to make a firm but pliable dough, adding a few drops of water, if necessary. Divide into two pieces, cover, and let rest about 30 minutes.

Make filling:

Fry prosciutto until crisp. Drain and set aside.

Mix ricotta, eggs, cheese, pepper, and parsley. Stir in cooled prosciutto. Set aside.

Roll pasta to a 15″ x 7″ rectangle. If you have a pasta roller, bring it through to about 15″ on level three and then roll it width-wise to about 7″.

Spread half of filling on pasta sheet and brush ends and edge with egg. Roll jelly-roll style and seal ends and edge.

Repeat with second roll.

Wrap each pasta log in cheesecloth and tie ends with kitchen twine.

Lower into barely-boiling water and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from water and place on racks to cool.

Remove cheesecloth and slice each roll into 3/4″ slices.

Cover bottom of baking dish with marinara sauce and lay out slices. Drizzle with marinara and sprinkle with additional grated Locatelli.

Cover with foil and bake until heated though – about 30 minutes at 350°.

Serve with additional sauce, if desired.

And then… because we had some eggplant, he decided to make Little Gram’s Eggplant Appetizer.


This is another awesome dish made by Marie’s grandmother.

Little Gram’s Eggplant Appetizer


  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cups halved or chopped green olives
  • 3 cups thinned Italian tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 chopped Locatelli cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • fresh basil and mint

Cut eggplant in strips the size of French fries. Salt and let stand about an a hour. Dry on a paper towel. Deep fry in hot oil. Keep oil as hot as possible without burning. Add eggplant one at a time and keep adding one at a time to keep the oil at the same temperature. Fry each one until tender and cooked. Drain on paper towels.

To Make Sauce:

Parboil celery for ten minutes. Add olives and cook another five minutes. Drain all water out of the pot. Add the thinned tomato sauce and boil for ten minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Cook for three minutes. Add cheese. Make it come to a boil and then turn off heat and allow to cool.

Pour sauce over fried eggplants. Garnish with fresh Basil and mint that have been sliced into very thin strips.

And there’s Carrot Cake for dessert.

In fact… time to stop typing and get a piece.


It is really good to be me.

No question about it.