Michael’s favorite meal when he was growing up was manicotti. He would always request it for his birthday dinner, special occasions, etc. Over the years that we’ve been married, I haven’t made it a lot of times. Probably because I don’t love it, and he hasn’t requested it much. All that has changed now. He fell back in love with manicotti, and I very much enjoyed this version of the Italian-American creation.
Credit: Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo
Makes 8 to 10 filled pasta crepes
1 large egg
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups milk, plus more as needed to thin the batter
Canola oil, for lightly greasing the pan
2 cups 20-Minute Marinara Sauce
16 ounces Creamy Homemade Ricotta
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
For the pasta crepes: combine the egg, flour, salt, and milk in the bowl of a blender. Blend until the batter is a very thin, pourable consistency, adding additional milk if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Heat an 8-inch crepe pan over medium-low heat. Brush the pan lightly with oil. Hold the pan at an angle, and quickly swirl it as you pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom. Cook about 45 seconds, until the edges look slightly crisp and the top begins to look dry. Gently slip an offset spatula underneath the crepe,flip, and cook for 15 more seconds. The first couple will be sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan. Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce onto the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. To make the filling, add the ricotta, egg, parsley, Pecorino, and salt and pepper to a medium bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Lay pasta crepes on a flat surface and spoon an even amount of the filling in a long strip down the center of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the filled crepes. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let the manicotti sit for 2 minutes before serving.