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Lisa - LA

Catherine's Manicotti

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Joined: Dec 9, 2005

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Posted to Thread #21 at 5:45 pm on Jan 7, 2006

This was posted by Catherine/DC, and has been enjoyed many times by our family and friends. I've only tried the cheese and the chicken pistachio fillings - the gruyere sauce with this one is lovely.

HOMEMADE MANICOTTI lovingly taught to me by my MIL Mary and her mother Rose, this recipe uses homemade crepes instead of purchased pasta. It is truly amazing. Mary often freezes it ahead of time.

Crepes:
5 eggs
1 1/4 C flour
1 1/4 C water
pinch of salt
olive oil for frying pan

Beat eggs in a large bowl until they are frothy. Stir in the flour and mix, then the water and mix, then the salt and mix. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour so that it loses some of its frothiness.

Take a small cast iron frying pan (about 5" in diameter). Rub it with a paper towel that has been dipped in olive oil. Put the pan on the burner and heat it. Take a little of the crepe batter and put it in the pan to see if the pan is hot enough. It should spread and start cooking at once, if it doesn't spread, the pan's too hot.

When the pan is hot enough, take a scant 1/4 of a cup of batter (in a small ladle is best) and pour it into the frying pan. The thinner the crepe, the better. Immediately pick up the pan and roll the batter around in the pan so it covers the entire bottom. Put pan back on burner and let the crepe cook, pushing the pan back-and-forth over the heat, until the top of the crepe is no longer shiny, it has cooked through from the bottom. Use a spatula to lift the edges of the crepe a little. Don't turn the crepe. It takes about one minute.

Slide the crepe out onto a sheet of aluminum foil to cool. Carefully wipe more olive oil into the the bottom of the pan with the oiled paper towel. Pour in the next crepe and cook as described. You should end up with about twenty or twenty- one crepes.

Once the crepes are cool, Mary takes a pair of kitchen scissors and trims off the hard crispy edges of the crepes. It should be easy to do -the crepes should be firm and almost spongey in texture. I omit this step.

Cheese Filling:

* 2-3 eggs
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
mozarella cheese - 8 oz, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese - freshly grated parsley, dried or fresh
1/2 tsp. salt

Put ricotta, parmesan, parsley, eggs, mozzarella and salt into a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate.

Assembly & Baking
Take a cooled crepe, turn it over so the underside is facing up (the side that cooked), and spoon about two tablespoons' worth of cheese filling onto the crepe. Wrap up two sides of the crepe and cross them over the cheese. The crepe should readily stick to itself. Place the crepe folded-side-down in the bottom of a wide, shallow baking dish that has had some tomato sauce poured into it to cover the bottom. (Or, white sauce, or olive oil) Make the rest of the crepes the same way.

Pour tomato sauce over them all, and sprinkle with freshly-grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes, uncovered.

Serve at once with crusty Italian bread, green salad, and browned Italian sausage or meatballs. Pass extra sauce on the side.

FILLING OPTIONS:

CHICKEN-PISTACHIO FILLING, New NYT Cookbook: p 105

C-note: I love this one the best.

2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned & cut in half 1/2 lemon
3 1/2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup rich chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Gruyire or Swiss cheese
S&P
3 Tbsp shelled pistachios (or blanched almonds) 1 Tbsp dry vermouth
1 small egg (if egg is large, use only half of it)
1 cup ricotta cheese
6 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

Place chicken in bowl and squeeze the lemon over. Add rind. Let stand. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter in saucepan and cook onion, stirring, until wilted. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring with wire whisk. Add broth, stirring rapidly. When thickened, add half the cream. Simmer 10 min. Add Gruyire, S&P. Set aside.

Melt 1 tsp butter in skillet, add nuts. Place in oven and bake, shaking the skillet and stirring, until nuts are toasted. Remove & cool. Drain chicken pieces, pat dry. Sprinkle with S&P. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in skillet and add chicken. Brown on both sides quickly, 3 or 4 min. Remove and add vermouth. Deglaze pan. Pour the drippings into a bowl.

Cut cooked chicken in 1/2" cubes, add to bowl. Add nuts. Add rest of cream, egg, ricotta cheese, 4 Tbsp. Parmesan, and parsley. Blend well. Spoon onto manicotti & wrap. Spread a little cheese sauce in bottom of pan, add manicotti. Top w/sauce. Sprinkle rest of Parmesan over. Bake 15 min.

FAZOLETTI W/HAM & MUSHROOM FILLING Marcella Hazan: pg. 148

filling:
2 oz dried porcini, soaked in 1 qt warm water for 30 min.
5 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup chopped onions
Salt
10 oz boiled unsmoked ham, cut into thin strips (such as pancetta)

sauce bichamel (2 Cups milk, 4 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp flour, pinch salt)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano pepper
1/2 cup fine dry unflavored bread crumbs, toasted lightly

Drain mushrooms, reserve water. Squeeze mushrooms in your hands over the bowl. Wash in several changes of clean water. Cut into coarse pieces. Filter the mushroom water and set aside.

Saute onion in 3 Tbsp butter until pale gold. Add mushrooms and a grind of salt and cook 12 minutes. Add filtered water from the mushrooms, turn heat to high and bubble liquid away, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, add ham strips, and cook until ham is lightly browned.

Prepare bichamel sauce, add mushrooms and ham mixture, and combine very thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pepper. Butter bottom and sides of the pan, sprinkle with crumbs, knock out excess crumbs and add them to remaining cheese.

Stuff and fold manicotti, place in oiled dish. Sprinkle with cheese/bread crumb mixture. Dot with 2 Tbsp butter. Bake 20 minutes.

MANICOTTI DEI PANZONI Bon Appetit Best Recipes: p 149

C-note: this one is very good also.

4 Tbsp. oil
1 1/2 pounds veal, cubed
1 chicken leg, boned
1 chicken liver
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots
2 bunches fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1 cup canned peeled tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup milk
S&P

Bechamel sauce
3/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
3 cups milk, warmed

24 to 30 crepes

4 cups Italian meat sauce (your own)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in skillet. Saute veal, chicken and liver over medium heat until brown on all sides, 10 - 15 min. Remove to 8-quart casserole.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. To skillet, add remaining oil, saute onions, celery and carrots until they just begin to brown. 15 min. Add spinach in 4 batches, allowing it to shrink down and cook after each addition.

Combine vegetables with meat; stir in the tomatoes and milk, S&P. Cover and bake for three hours (make sure oven stays at 3000).

Remove the lid and allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Shred the meat by mixing up the vegetables & meat with two forks. (Or just use your hands.)

BICHAMEL SAUCE
6 Tbsp. butter,
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed,
S&P,
nutmeg

Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in flour, over medium heat, to make a roux. Stir and mix for about 3 minutes, being sure not to brown the flour. Add milk and bring to a simmer so mixture thickens. Season with S&P and a grating of nutmeg. Set aside.

Run cooled meat/veggie mixture through food processor to mix. (I omit this step) Grease pan. Place 1 cup Bechamel sauce and 1 cup meat tomato sauce in baking dish. Fill crepes with heaping Tbsps of meat-veggie mixture, roll up and place in baking dish fold-side down. Top filled dish with Bechamel and tomato-meat sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and bake 20 minutes, uncovered, in 350 degree oven.



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