Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Mamma Rosa's Crespelle (savory crepes for manicotti)
A friend of mine, Lucy, was asking if I had a recipe for Crespelle, which are savory crepes used to make manicotti. So, its like instant fresh pasta! I told her that I definitely did have this recipe. It's from my friend's mom.
We'll call her Mamma Rosa :)
You can buy ready-made manicotti shells but they are a far cry from the wonderful soft and light texture of crespelle. When prepared the traditional way, stuffed with ricotta and baked in tomato sauce, they soak in the flavors and the texture is " like butta' " They melt in your mouth!
Best of all, they are a sinch to make and can be made in advance and frozen. - stacked with parchment paper in between each crepe.
A bit of history...
Crespelle are the Italian equivalent of crepes. Though the preparation now has a certain ring of elegance to it, in the past crespelle were considered poor people's food. The change came in 1895, when Henri Carpentier, Maitre at Montecarlo's Café de Paris, prepared them at the table for the Prince of Wales. Edward named them after his lady friend -- Crepes Suzette.
Don't you love these interesting little factoids? You can add this to your repertoire of useless information. lol
Yeilds approx 20-25 crespelle.
3 cups of flour
3 cups of milk ( but Mamma Rosa uses water instead because she finds the milk makes the batter to thick )
Pinch of salt
PAM cooking spray - it woks best with this recipe.
non-stck frying pan
In a medium sized bowl, combine the above mentioned ingredients and mix with a wire wisk
Set the heat to medium.
Preheat your non-stick frying pan ( I use a 9" pan). That's the size I want my crepes to be and it ensures size consitency.
Spray some PAM into your pan
With a ladle, pour the batter into the pan.
Then, swish your pan around so that the batter coats the bottom of the pan evenly.
**The crepe is meant to be paper-thin so it won't take long for the crepe to set.
Flip it over. The flip-side will literally take seconds to cook.
**They are meant to remain pale only very slightly golden (do not brown them)
Remove from heat and the next one.
**You can make a few crepes before having to spray the pan again with PAM.
The batter is meant to be thin enough to be swirled around...if its too thick , add some liquid to your batter
Also, if the batter is setting too quickly for you to swirl it, your heat may be too high. (depending on cooktop and pan, tempreatures may vary) On my gas cooktop, I must put it on medium-low.
My first crepes of the batch are always thicker than the rest, 'cause I adjust the heat, the consistancy etc..
So don't worry, you'll get the hang of it.
Then you stuff them with your favorite filling and bake! (spoon your filling onto the crepe and fold 2 edges around the stuffing - like a cigar or rather like a cannoli :) - Place into your casserole dish - seam side down)
If you're making traditional manicotti with ricotta stuffing and topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese,
the dish will be ready when sauce is bubbling and cheese cheese on top is melted.
(I use tomato sauce but my buddy, Chef Vito of Trattoria Mundo's uses Butter Cream sauce.)
Thank you Mamma Rosa!