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.
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- 2/3 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
- Whisk the eggs with the milk and olive oil in a small bowl. Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl and whisk in the egg mixture, blending until smooth. Cover the batter and chill for 1 hour.
- Heat a 6 or 8 inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. With a paper towel, rub the skillet with olive oil.
- 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, 2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute longer. Remove to a plate.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, rubbing the pan with oil as needed. You should have 10 to 12 crespelle.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Blend the ricotta with the parsley and 1/3 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay a crespelle on a work surface. Make a line down center of crespelle with about 2 tablespoons of filling and fold the sides over the filling.
- Spread half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the filled crespelle in the dish in a single layer.
- Top with the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.