I’ve made it clear that I don’t believe in authenticity, but then when it comes to Italian food I do have a term of endearment that is as close to the righteousness of authenticity as I come; proper. I’ve gone on about proper quite a few times on this little blog*.
Proper Italian food. People often rave about authentic Italian food but most items that are hailed as perfect examples of real Italian food don’t bare any resemblance to what I think of as Italian.
One of the rare exceptions to this is Jamie Oliver’s Italy cookbook. There’s chickpea pasta; a vegetarian placement for when you don’t want or can’t afford the meat. A green pea soup for when that glut of peas hits the veggie patch that all good Italians have. And a recipe for spaghetti fritters very similar to a family recipe except that the pasta in our family is replaced by bread. Recipes that all bear enough resemblance to the ways that I grew up with for me to deem them proper.
But those familiar dishes aren’t what this post is about. Sorry. I probably shouldn’t have gone on so much about proper Italian food to start with.
There is a recipe in Jamie’s Italy that isn’t at all proper by my definition but it certainly piqued my curiosity. Problem was that the recipe, unlike most others in the book, was overly complicated. It requires following two pages of written instructions and would definitely ruin at least one tea towel. I couldn’t bring myself to make the rotolo of spinach, squash and ricotta. It was too much work for a pasta dish.
So, when I saw the spinach and pumpkin rotolo on the menu at Jamie’s Italian in Adelaide I knew I had to try it. Because it was the only chance I was going to get. Because I wasn’t ever going to make it. Because even though I love to cook I’m not ruining a tea towel for some glammed up lasagne.
But we ordered up big and I made everybody give me a try of their choice because FOMO. I could go into descriptions of each dish but I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
I am however going to have to give a shout out to the best restaurant toilets in South Australia of which I have no pictures because it just felt weird taking them (Unlike this time I took pics in a toilet). Jamie’s Italian restaurant inhabits what once was a grand old bank and its toilets are positioned in the old vaults. So, drink up then head down stairs for a look.
But back to the food.
Would I order the rotolo again? Maybe but I’d be tempted by the black seafood spaghetti, another dish that I wouldn’t tackle at home.
Would I make rotolo at home? Goodness no! It would be easier to drive back to Adelaide. However, while researching this post I noticed that they have changed the menu since I visited in January. This means that I’m pretty much never going to eat rotolo again.
*I checked. There’s 6 pages of results for “proper”