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Manicotti Using Crespelle

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes (crushed)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, preferably Italian
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, celery and garlic and saute until the onions are almost translucent. Add the basil and stir. Add crushed tomatoes and water simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding parsley near end of cooking time. Set aside. Filling 10 ounces or about 4 cups fresh spinach, stemmed and finely chopped 2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese or grated provolone cheese 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp Parmesan or Romano cheese 3 pounds of ricotta cheese 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 2 eggs 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley (optional) salt and freshly ground pepper to taste In a large mixing bowl, combine filling ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spread a cup or two of sauce over the bottom of a large shallow glass baking dish. To assemble: Place a large spoonful or two of the filling on each crespelle and roll it up. Place the filled pancakes, folded side down, close together in a single layer in the baking pan. Cover the crespelle with a generous amount of tomato sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the manicottis are piping hot throughout. Heat remaining sauce. Serve the crespelle hot from the oven. Pass the tomato sauce. Crespelles 4 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup water 1 cup milk 1/4 tsp. salt vegetable oil or melted butter (about 1/4 cup) for cooking the crepes In mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Combine milk and water and stir into eggs with whisk. Add the flour gradually, while stirring with the whisk. The batter should be smooth and fairly thin. Add water if the batter seems thicker than heavy cream. Add salt; stir. Set the batter aside to rest for at least 30 minutes. Heat a 7 or 8-inch crepe pan or small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with melted butter or oil. Add about 3 tablespoon of batter. As soon as the batter is in the pan, swirl and tilt the pan until the batter coats the bottom of the pan with a thin layer. Work quickly doing this so the batter spreads out before it starts to cook. Cook on one side for about 30 seconds or until set, then turn the crepe over using a spatula and flip it over to cook the other side just a few seconds. Make crepes one at a time, brushing the skillet lightly with melted butter before each is made. Slide out of pan, onto a plate and stack with wax paper between them if they stick. It may take a couple attempts before they start turning out right. Crespelle can be made one or two days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen. This recipe makes about 30 - 40 crepes.

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