Homemade Manicotti (Crepes)

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Soft, homemade crepes filled with ricotta and topped with tomato sauce take the place of manicotti shells in this rich Italian dish. Suggested additions to the filling: cooked Italian sausage, chopped spinach, sauteed vegetables. Note: making large crepes requires thin batter and a skillful hand, smaller ones are easier to cook and flip.

For the crepes
1 large egg
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole milk, more as needed to thin the batter
canola oil, as needed to lightly grease the pan

For the filling
16 ounces ricotta or cottage cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan or locatelli cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add the pasta ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Blend, adding more milk one teaspoon at a time, until batter is a thin, almost runny consistency. Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed (see note). Hold pan at an angle, and swirl pan as you pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. And don't forget, the first one or two might end up being sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan.Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with remaining batter.

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well. Lay pasta crepes on a flat surface and spoon an event amount of filling in a long strip down the center of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Evenly pour remaining sauce over filled crepes. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over top and bake 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Original recipe

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