Being Italian has always meant pasta, but since my surgery, I do not eat macaroni anymore. I grab a meatball or have sauce over ricotta with lots of parmesan cheese.
Once in a while I do make a pan of Manicotti but I use very thin eggy crepes called crespelle instead of pasta. They are easy to make and really delicious.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper - I also use a few grates of nutmeg but this is optional
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl Whisk the eggs with the milk and olive oil in a small bowl or large measuring cup. Add the egg mixture to the flour and whisk until very smooth. Cover the batter and chill for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Heat a 6 or 8 inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat and spray with Pam.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and tilt the skillet to quickly coat the entire pan bottom in a round.
- Cook until golden on the bottom, 60 to 90 seconds - flip and cook 60 seconds longer or until browned - remove to a plate.
- Repeat with the remaining batter to make approximately 8 crespelle.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Blend the ricotta with the parsley and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Lay a crespelle on a work surface and picture it as having 4 quarters. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in one quarter, fold in half, then in half again.
- Spread a light coating of the marinara in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange each filled crespelle in the dish as it is made, overlapping slightly
- Top with the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.