Mamma Rosa’s CrespelleTBT! Originally posted: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 What are Crespelle? In a word , they are heaven. They are Italian crepes used as an alternative to pasta in dishes such as manicotti or fazzoletti. Recipe for ricotta/spinach filling follows. I had never even heard of them until my friend from work, Toni, had me try her mom’s, manicotti. The heaven’s opened up…and it was then that I decided that it would be the only way to eat manicotti from then on. (dramatic pause)
No but seriously, after making these you probably won’t ever buy hard-shell, ready-made manicotti as they are a far cry from the wonderful tender-soft and light texture of crespelle. When prepared the traditional way, stuffed with ricotta and spinach, baked in tomato sauce, they soak in all the flavors. “It’s like butta” (New York accent); they just melt in your mouth!
Good to know: They can be frozen for future use, stacked with a square piece of parchment paper between each crepe and sealed in a zip-lock bag.
A bit of history…
Crespelle are essentially like classic French crepes. Every country seems to have thier own version. Italians just stuffed them with cheese, covered them in sauce and added more cheese ! (Big shocker there)
Although the preparation crepes has a certain ring of elegance to it, in the past crepes were considered, as many delicious foods are, poor man’s food. It is said that the change came in 1895, when Henri Carpentier, a junior waiter at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris, prepared them for Edward, Prince of Wales and his dining companions. Edward then fondly named the dish after his lady friend, Suzette…and that was how “Crepes Suzette” came to be.
Don’t you love these interesting little factoids? You can add this to your repertoire of useless information.
Yields approx 20-25 crespelle.
9″ non-stick pan (or your preferred size)
3 cups of flour
3 cups of milk (This is the original recipe but Mamma Rosa now uses water instead because she finds the milk makes the batter too thick )
Pinch of salt
PAM cooking spray – it works best with this recipe.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the above mentioned ingredients and mix with a wire whisk.
Set the heat to medium.
Pre-heat your non-stick frying pan ( I use a 9″ pan). That’s the size I want my crepes to be.
Spray some PAM cooking spray into your pan
With a ladle, pour the batter into the pan.
Then, quickly swirl 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 to set.
Flip it over. The flip-side will literally take seconds to cook.
**They are ready when they become only very slightly golden (do not brown them)
Remove from the pan and repeat with the next one.
**You can make a few crepes before having to spray the pan again.
The batter should be thin enough to swirl around to cover the base of your pan…if its too thick and the batter is not spreading , just add some liquid to your batter.
Also, if the batter is setting too quickly for you to swirl it properly, your heat might be too high. (temperatures may vary) I work with gas so, I have to put it on medium-low.
My first crepes are always thicker than the rest. Takes a few crepes to get into the rhythm. So don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
Spoon your filling onto the crepe across the centre (across the diameter). Fold in the 2 shorter edges and then roll from the longer edge around the stuffing – like a cigar or burrito 🙂 – You could leave the edges open but I don’t like it when my filling spews out of it. Folding the edges in makes for a more secure package. (See below)
Place into your casserole dish – seam side down)
I found the following pics on-line because back when I posted this recipe, I did not include the “how-to”. 🙂
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 the 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!
2014 BONUS: Here is a recipe for Spinach and Cheese filling
1 pound fresh washed spinach, stems trimmed, cooked and drained or a 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed. (chopped)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (about 1 pound)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup of the Parmesan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (nutmeg is a must)
Salt & Pepper
Your favorite tomato sauce.
In a medium mixing bowl, evenly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, pParmesan, the eggs, and the spinach. Season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. (I like to combine all ingredients before the egg because I like to taste my mixture first, in case I need to adjust the seasoning. Once you add the raw-egg, you can no longer taste-test it)
Cover the bottom of your casserole dish with a think layer of your favorite tomato sauce.
Spoon the cheese mixture onto the crespelle (fold or roll them up) and place them seam side down into the baking dish.
Cover with the remaining sauce. Scatter some mozzarella and Parmesan on top and dot with the butter (optional) . Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Do not overcook because the crespelle are delicate.