A French Girl Makes Manicotti

A week before Christmas, our neighbor Arlene gifts us with these magnificent oblong pillows stuffed with cheese, and individually rolled up in wax paper. They’re stored in the freezer, along with a loaf of Sarcone’s bread – awaiting a night when I have no time or energy to make dinner. It’s the best gift!

Making manicotti has been on my “things I want to make” list for a long time and have successfully avoided doing until now. I don’t know why – it’s pretty easy if you make the crepes one day and stuff them the next. This recipe makes enough to freeze for a future dinner. Take the plunge and serve with some No-Knead Bread

For the gravy (sauce):

  • 2 – 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes (I use Tuttorosso)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  1. The easiest way to make gravy is in a crockpot – if you don’t have one, you can do it on top of the stove on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Combine crushed tomatoes, garlic, sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  2. Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet, and add to the tomatoes, let cook for an hour.
  3. Remove garlic cloves.

For the crepes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil + extra for pan
  • wax paper cut in 2″ strips (to keep the crepes from sticking together)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until the batter is smooth.
  2. Lightly brush a 7″ non-stick skillet with oil, warm the pan over medium heat.
  3. Pour in slightly less than 1/4 cup of batter (approximately 3 tablespoons) into the pan, and swirl around until it covers the bottom. Let cook until it looks dry, turn the crepe over with a rubber spatula – let cook briefly on the other side, then turn out on a plate. Lay a strip of wax paper on top.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the batter – makes about 24. At this point – the crepes may be stored in the fridge for a day. If you do decide to refrigerate them, let them come to room temperature before filling them.

For the filling:

  • 32 oz. ricotta
  • 16 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons of filling on each crepe, roll up.
  3. Preheat oven to 350º. Spoon gravy to cover the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan.
  4. Place the filled crepes, seam side down in pan, cover with more sauce. Bake for 30 minutes.



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3 Responses to A French Girl Makes Manicotti

  1. Donna says:

    So going to make this sometime next week!

  2. Old NFO says:

    Meh, baking required, which I SUCK at… I’ll guarantee I can screw that up…LOL

  3. Tina says:

    Donna – It’s a bit more work than filling store bought shells, but so worth it!

    Jim – Not baking, heating up – if you’ve successfully made pancakes – you got this!

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