We had the phenomenal opportunity
to travel to Italy in 2007 and take a
week long cooking class for our wood burning
There Chef Alessi told us that
"lasagna should be like a cloud"
Well, this manicotti would be something that
Chef Alessi would love because it is like
This is a recipe I have had from college days
(many many moons ago).
In college, during finals week, when I couldn't stand
to study for another minute, I would head to the
library and read cookbooks.
I had an Italian friend living with me,
Ginger Boschi, and she and I would check
out Italian cookbooks and made manicotti,
homemade ravioli, gnocchi, etc.
I don't have any idea what cookbook this recipe came from
but I have used it for years and served it at a luncheon
this week. I will feature the table next week but as
some of the ladies were anxious to get the recipe, I
am posting that right away.
The secret to cloud-like manicotti is using
crepes instead of hard pasta shells.
Now don't leave me a snippy comment saying
that real manicotti uses pasta, I didn't make
up the recipe, but I highly recommend it.
Actually, what is pasta but eggs, flour and water
and this is the same, just more water than normal.
The filling is a lovely combination of ricotta and mozzarella
with a touch of parmesan. I loved how the mozzarella
melted and created beautiful strings of cheese
as you ate it.
I made a really quick marinara that you are going to
want to try. It is so fast and the flavor is so much better
than a jar.
Manicotti Like A Cloud Recipe
2 T. olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
2 - 28 oz cans Italian tomatoes
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper (or black)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic
and saute until translucent. Add the tomatoes and spices and
stir together. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer covered
for 20 minutes. You can simmer longer, for an hour if you have
the time. It will just enhance the flavor. Adjust seasoning if needed.
2 lb. ricotta
2 C. grated mozzarella
1/3 C. parmesan
1/4 tsp. white pepper (can use black)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
Mix all of the above and set aside.
6 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 C. flour,
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. water
Blend all of the above in a blender until smooth. Let rest
at least half an hour or overnight. If you rest it overnight,
it will separate, just stir together.
Heat an 8 inch pan and spray with Pam.
Pour in about 3 T. batter and rotate the pan quickly to
spread the batter evenly into a circle. Cook over medium heat
until the top is dry but the bottom is not brown. Remove the
crepe from the pan and place on a plate. Rub a little soft
butter on the top of each one using a paper towel so that
the crepes do not stick together. Stack them on the plate
as they cool.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place a layer of marinara on the bottom of your
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of filling
down the center of each crepe. Roll up and place
in the baking dish. Repeat until the crepes are used
up. This will make about 16-18 crepes and you might
have a little filling left over depending on how much you
use. Top the rolled crepes with more marinara. Sprinkle
additional parmesan and mozzarella on the top and bake
uncovered for 30 minutes.
(I chose to do mine in oval baking dishes and placed two
in each. You can also make these up ahead and bake later.)
Click here for printable recipe
I will be posting this with