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Friday, January 18, 2013

Soft As A Cloud Manicotti

We had the phenomenal opportunity
to travel to Italy in 2007 and take a
week long cooking class for our wood burning
Pizza Oven.

There Chef Alessi told us that 
"lasagna should be like a cloud"
and he said American lasagna was like a brick.

Well, this manicotti would be something that
Chef Alessi would love because it is like
a cloud.

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
baking dish.  

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


Daphne Bryson said...

Good Evening Jacqueline, Anything which has the name "Cloud" in the title has got to be light and fluffy and a delight to eat.
This is an interesting recipe which I am going to try.
I love the mixture of three cheeses.Thank you for the recipe, I am really looking forward to cooking this dish.
How was the pizza class, I bet everyone had fun.
Have a lovely weekend.
Best Wishes


I always loved Maniccotti in your rec ipe looks yummy and now AI'm hungry! Hope you have a fabulous 2013!

Susan said...

Loved the use of paper thin crepes, instead of noodles - thank you for the recipe!

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Jacqueline, This looks delicious and sounds much less tedious than making American brick style lasagna, with noodles that stick together! I can't wait to see the table next week! Linda

Gina said...

They look delicious! My Italian Mom makes them the same way (with the crepes), so you are spot on!

OurSearsKitHome said...

This is so fabulous that I am going to make it next week.
I'm off to pin it and then print it out too!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Nom, nom... Soooo wishing I had some right now! Happy Weekend:@)

La Table De Nana said...

One day soon:)

Lavender Cottage said...

A great idea to use crepes for the manicotti, they would taste like soft little clouds.

Lavender Cottage said...

A great idea to use crepes for the manicotti, they would taste like soft little clouds.

Lavender Cottage said...

A great idea to use crepes for the manicotti, they would taste like soft little clouds.

Sue said...

I haven't eaten dinner yet and I'm dying over your manicotti! I will have to try this unique crepe version. I always use my sister's recipe because it reminds me of her, and she passed away almost eight years ago. Also, my son-in-law used to have a crepe cafe here, so I will have to show him this recipe:)

Stacy's Shabby Shoppe said...

Jackie, that looks just delicious and I'll bet it was super yummy! Thanks for the recipe! (*_*)

Celestial Charms said...

Oh my goodness! One of my favorite dishes, but with a twist. I can't wait to make this. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Looks so delicious!

barbara morano said...

Yes, POLLY-O, an old Italian company in New York, had this in there cookbook. I cooked this with my mother 50 years ago in Queens, New York.
Thank you for posting. This is a rare and special manicotti.

Barb Elder said...

They were so delicious!! I loved them and can't wait to make them or my family!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This is one of the great recipes that are too good not to share. Thank you for doing just that. I am so intrigued by the crepes instead of pasta and I can just imagine how light these must be.

Mom E. said...

Oh, mouth is watering!!!!!
and I make Gluten Free Crepes already....
I really love the flavor of the pasta version but I havne't liked cooking the noodles and trying to get thim in the pan in a decent manner with the, I started doing the no cook GF lazagna noodles and that worked...but this....this is a cut above the rest! What a fun class you must have had, learning about your oven and it sounds like so many other things...
This I will be making! and I will let you know how it goes!
Hearts to you, Betsy

Designs By Pinky said...

My hubby makes manicotti this exact same way!!!! It took me awhile to get used to the crepes but they ARE fabulous!!! Thanks for your recipe, I will give it to him and see if there is a difference. XO, Pinky PS, I see you, too are getting alot of these darn anonymous comments. I wish I knew how to GET RID OF THEM!!!!!!!!

La Table De Nana said...

e ate at our f rinds last night..
She made this..just a slight variation in the recipe..but with the same manicotti..a recipe from one of her Italian mom's Italian cookbooks..DELISH..I can't wait to make it myself..And when you had posted this I had thought the same thing..:)Now I am really going to make it.

Ruthie B. said...

This was amazing, and so much fun to make! Thanks for sharing this, it is such a plentiful recipe, it allows me to make several pans to give away!!
Ruth Briggs


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