Joe's Manicotti~

Adapted from Joe's family recipe at eat.at.com

Makes two 9 x 13 pans.

Crepe batter:

9 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Big pinch of salt
1/2 + 1/3  cups flour


Put all ingredients in blender and mix, scraping down the sides as needed. Set aside in the refrigerator to rest for a couple of hours, so the flour will absorb the liquid.

Tomato sauce (or use your favorite marinara):

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender
1 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
About 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried basil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Heat the olive oil in large pot.  Add onion and saute until soft but not brown, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, and seasonings. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool.

Cheese Filling:

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
Salt, pepper and nutmeg

2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
2+ cups freshly grated Parmesan
1+ cup coarsely grated whole milk mozzarella
2 eggs, beaten


Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time. Bring to a boil, stirring. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes. Season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let cool.


Add the ricotta to the white sauce, and stir to combine. Add the other cheeses. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the eggs.

To assemble: 

 

Spread a thin layer of sauce in two 9" x 13" baking dishes. 

Brush an 9-inch crepe pan, non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet with butter. Heat over medium heat. Stir up the crepe batter (the flour settles to the bottom) and add approximately 1/4 cup to the hot pan, tilting the pan as you do so to cover the bottom evenly. Place over heat and cook until batter is set and edges are beginning to brown. Don't flip. Loosen edges with a spatula and slide out, soft side up, onto your work surface. (The first crepe is often a flop...toss and try again.)

Brush the pan with more butter and make the next crepe. While it cooks spread about 1/4 cup filling in a sausage shape across the bottom of the first crepe and roll it up like an enchilada. Place seam side down in the pan. Continue making and filling crepes, stirring up the batter often and brushing the pan with butter as necessary, until the filling is used up. You should fill all four pans.  Top each manicotti with a thin layer of sauce and a sprinkling of your extra mozzarella and Parmesan.

You can wrap and freeze the manicotti at this point, and freeze the remaining sauce separately. Thaw completely before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Bake manicotti until puffed and lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Let sit a few minutes. Reheat sauce. Serve with sauce and grated Parmesan.

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