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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baked Manicotti (from Scratch!)

Me and my husband were meant for each other for many reasons - our love of good food is one of those reasons - and it's a damn good one...because today when I had to go to a study group and would be unable to prepare dinner, he was the one driven to take me up on my suggestion that he make his Grammy's manicotti recipe.  Nothing makes three hours of hardcore Number Theory go away faster than some made-from-scratch manicotti at the dinner table with my family.

I will say that I had absolutely no idea that manicotti were stuffed crepes!  Did you???  My husband was wary about how it would end up tasting.  For some inexplicable reason he is not in love with a crepe like I am.  I told him to trust in his Grammy, and sure enough, they were amazing!  I hope this becomes a staple of our house because they were so satisfyingly delicious and much easier to make than your average fresh pasta - no rolling out or cutting any dough.  Once they're stuffed with cheese and covered in sauce - and of course more cheese - they taste like heaven.

Homemade Manicotti
made 10 manicotti

For the batter:
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups water

For the filling:
16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup romano cheese

For the topping:
2 cups marinara sauce (plus more for serving)
1 cup of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a very small non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Spray with a little bit of oil.  Ladle a little less than 1/2 cup of batter into the hot greased pan.  Tilt the pan around so that the batter covers the bottom and flip when the top looks dry and cook on the other side until it is also dry.  Check them as you cook.  As the pan continues to heat up, it will take less and less time for each side to cook.  By the end, Jim was churning them out in less than 30 seconds each.  Stack them on a plate as you go - they won't stick to eachother.  You can keep them in the fridge if using later or the next day and they also freeze well.

Combine all the ingredients for your filling in a large bowl.  Place about 2 Tbsp of the ricotta filling in the center of each manicotti and fold like a letter (this is exactly what his Grammy's recipe book says.)  Jim folded the sides in first because he didn't want the cheese oozing out (I don't know if this would have happened, but I wasn't going to take a chance of being wrong.)  Place the manicotti in a greased baking pan.  Top with marinara sauce and cheese.  Cover the pan and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  Then uncover and bake for an additional ten minutes.

Serve with extra sauce and romano cheese and mangia!


  1. By " fold like a letter" , do you mean trifold? Do you think whole wheat flour would work just as well?

    1. Yep...trifold - fold the bottom third up and the top third down in any order. Then put them seam-side down in your baking dish.

      As for the whole wheat flour...I thought about it too. Whole wheat flour does change the texture of things, but I may try this in the future...I would start with swapping out maybe a third of the regular flour for perhaps white whole wheat flour and see how it goes. (I find that white whole wheat flour is less aggressive as far as taste and texture go.) If I think the crepe stands up to it, I would swap out another third the next time and so on. If you try it, please let me know what you do and how it goes!

  2. OK, so I tried the flour idea (1/2 c wheat and 1 c white flour)!!! Tastes good:)

    I tried a 3 in omellete pan and a 11 in pan maybe, neither worked. So I went to the neighbors and got a 8 in pan which was perfect for the crepes. Plus the neighbors are French and it seemed only fitting to make crepes in a french pan!

    I followed the direction (or so I thought) but it looked like I would have excessive filling left over. Then I realized I uses 32 oz instead or 16 oz of ricotta. (Side note: that is why the Common Core Mathematics state standards emphasize estimating!!!! I should have know 16 oz was 2 c and that the big ole container I dumped in was far more.) Anyhow,I had to empty all the crepes that I already filled back into the batter and then add more eggs and Romano. So I truly do have excess, so what a perfect opportunity to make another batch of crepes. So I opened a bottle of wine, blasted some 80's music, and got back to work. This time 1 c wheat and 1/2 c white flour. Batter was thicker and needed more water, so I added some. Still tastes good and it will make me feel healthier when eating. So now I need to go back to the neighbors for a pan to cook it in (already used mine on first batch) and since I have an excessive amount of manicotti, I am now inviting the neighbors for dinner. This manicotti has a life of its own......