Sunday, December 27, 2009
Manicotti a la Crepes
Last March, I took my little sister and her boyfriend out to our favorite restaurant, Varanese, for her birthday. We had an amazing dinner and when it was time for dessert, the two of them ordered crepes. Being the immature boyfriend that Andy is, he kept making jokes about crepes in relation to a certain bodily function we all have. Yes, it was 30 minutes of crepe jokes. And so every now and then when I see my sister and her boyfriend, someone will bring up one of the crepe jokes and it seems like it will be an ongoing thing. Well... now that I've made these manicotti out of crepes, I'm sure the jokes will roll again, but hey... it was delicious. So laugh all you want, but as long as it's good going down, bring it on.
Adapted from My Gourmet Connection's recipe
4 eggs, lightly beaten and divided
1 cup flour
1 & 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
handful of mixed greens
12 ounce package of ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup parlsey, chopped
about 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
In a medium bowl, mix together 3 eggs, flour, milk, butter, and salt. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about an hour so it can thicken.
While you're waiting for the batter, you can start on the sauce and the filling. Heat the oil in a large skillet under medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, just a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer until sauce slightly thickens. about 10 minutes. Then add half & half and wine. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and basil. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the mixed greens, ricotta, remaining egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella and all of parmesan cheese. Set aside until you finish making the crepes.
To make the crepes, spread 1 tablespoon of oil on an 8 inch round skillet and rub all over the sides and flat of pan. Heat the pan under high heat and add 3 tablespoons of batter. Remove from heat and rotate pan so batter can spread out. When crepe has "set" (about 30 seconds), flip over and return to heat for another 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter and make sure to separate crepes with wax paper to avoid them sticking together.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Line a large rectangular roasting pan with nonstick spray. Spoon a small amount of marinara on the bottom of pan so crepes do not stick to pan. Place the crepes on a flat surface, spoon a nice helping of the filling onto each crepe, and roll up. One by one, place each crepe into the pan. I had about 10 good sized crepes fit into my pan. Then top the manicotti with the remaining sauce and top with desired amount of mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
Uncover foil and bake for another 7-10 minutes, when cheese is slightly browned. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
This was a pretty good dish, not to mention VERY filling. We had plenty of leftovers and it tasted pretty good. The original dish called for frozen spinach, but I had mixed greens on hand, and they still tasted pretty good, but I'm sure spinach would have been great also. The marinara originally didn't have the cream or the wine, but I added them to add more depth of flavor and it sure did. Every bite was tasty and I highly recommend this dish! Enjoy!