Ricotta Roll-Ups in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce


This decadent twist on baked pasta features a superstar combo of ricotta, pumpkin, and sage.

Overhead View of Ricotta Roll-Ups in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce in Baking Dish
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins

If you've never made the Italian dish Rotolo, this rendition is the place to start. Think of it as comfort food's elegant older sister. This version is easier to make than traditional Rotolo by filling smaller sheets of fresh pasta—much like cannelloni—instead of wrapping a large roll of stuffed pasta in a dish towel and submerging it in boiling water.

This crave-worthy take is made of cylinders of homemade fresh pasta, filled with a sage-infused mozzarella and ricotta filling, then baked, cut-side up for a stunning presentation, in a garlicky pumpkin cream sauce. The balance of creamy and crispy is just delightful as the edges of the rolls of fresh pasta get a little crispy, and the rest of this easy-baked pasta dish is tender and creamy.

Make ahead tip: The pasta can be rolled and cut up to a day in advance. Arrange them between layers of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet, then cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (from 2 [16 oz.] containers)

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, plus whole leaves for serving

  • 4 ounces shredded, low-moisture mozzarella cheese (1 cup), divided

  • 2 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for water

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 29-oz. can pumpkin puree

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • .50 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 recipe fresh pasta sheets (see Basic Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe)


  1. Stir ricotta, chopped sage, ½ cup mozzarella, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauce-pan over medium. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add pumpkin; cook, stirring constantly, until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in half-and-half, ¼ cup at a time, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar, nutmeg, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Remove from heat.

  3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Set a wire rack inside a large, rimmed baking sheet. Add half the pasta sheets to boiling water. Cook, gently stirring often, until just tender and floating, about 2 minutes. (Pasta rolled and cut by hand will take 2 to 3 minutes.)

  4. Carefully remove pasta with a slotted spoon and tongs and transfer to rack on baking sheet; arrange in an even layer as much as possible (it’s OK if sheets crease and slightly overlap). Repeat with remaining pasta sheets. Reserve ½ cup cooking water.

  5. Place pumpkin sauce over low heat and gradually whisk in reserved cooking water in 2 batches until smooth. Pour 3 cups sauce into a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan or 2½-quart baking dish. Keep remaining sauce warm over low, stirring occasionally, until ready to use.

  6. Preheat oven to 450 F. Working with 1 cooked pasta sheet at a time (gently unfolding if creased), place on a clean work surface, short side facing you. Spread about ⅓ cup ricotta filling over bottom third of sheet and roll into a loose cylinder. Cut crosswise into 3 even pieces. Nestle pieces, cut side up, in sauce in pan, starting from outside edge and working inward to fill pan. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets and ricotta filling. Spoon remaining sauce on top and between crevices. Top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella.

  7. Bake until cheese is melted and browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium. Add whole sage leaves; fry, stirring often, until leaves curl and turn bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel with a slotted spoon. Top ricotta roll-ups with fried sage leaves.

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