Courtesy Metro Creative Services
Courtesy Metro Creative Services

Few cuisine styles are as diverse and beloved as those that have been exported from the Mediterranean nation of Italy. From pasta to pizza and everything in between, the rich and savory flavors of Italian cuisine are enjoyed across the globe.

Italian restaurants can be found in many cities and towns throughout the world. However, it's just as easy to create traditional, mouthwatering dishes at home with simple ingredients. Manicotti is a popular pasta dish that can be filled with cheese or other ingredients, and topped with a traditional tomato sauce or other saucy creations. The word “manicotti” is the plural form of “manicotto,” which translates to “little sleeves” in Italian. They're meant to be stuffed and baked.

While manicotti may seem complex, they're rather easy to prepare. Enjoy this recipe for “Mom's Homemade Manicotti with Crepes (Crespelle),” courtesy of the blog 3 Italian Sisters (3italiansisters.com). They present well for the holidays or any special occasion.

 

Mom’s Homemade Manicotti with Crepes (Crespelle)

Yields approximately 20 crepes

Serving size: 2 to 3 crepes per person

 

Crepes

• 4 extra large eggs

• 1 cup flour

• 1 ¼ cup whole milk

• 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Butter for pan

 

Ricotta filling

• 3 pounds part skim or whole milk ricotta cheese

• ½ cup fresh parsley, minced

• ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese

• 2 extra large eggs, scrambled

• 1 pound mozzarella cheese cubed

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Premade tomato or meat sauce

 

1. Put all the crepe ingredients into a blender. Blend till smooth; scrape sides if necessary and blend again till all ingredients are blended well.

2. Melt a little butter in a 9-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat.

Pour in small amount of batter and swirl to cover bottom of it with a thin film. Cook for approximately 20 seconds and turn to the other side and cook for another 20 seconds. Transfer crepe to plate. Continue until all batter is finished. Crepes can be stacked on top of each other. 3. If you aren't using them right away, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

4. Ricotta filling: Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside to fill crepes.

Take 1 tablespoon of ricotta filling onto each crepe and roll gently and place on a cookie sheet, seam side down.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer large casserole pan with your favorite tomato or meat sauce. Place single layer of rolled manicotti in the casserole pan on top of sauce. Ladle thin layer of sauce on top of manicotti and sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.