Manicotti with Whole Wheat Crepes

Manicotti with Whole Wheat Crepes

I loved to cook as a kid.  I remember one particular cookbook that my mom had that featured recipes made with brand name products.  It was at least two inches thick — and I was pretty convinced that each recipe was magic.  Even if the main ingredient was Stove Top Stuffing.  I guess the corporate sponsorship gave the recipes credibility in my twelve year old mind.  I’m still a marketer’s dream, by the way.

One of my favorite recipes from the book was baked manicotti.  And, of course, it used some sort of prepared and dried manicotti shells.  San Giorgio, perhaps?  It was actually a pain in the ass kind of recipe — boiling the manicotti noodles ahead of time and then attempting to stuff the little tubes with the ricotta cheese mixture.  But for some reason, I always continued to think that prepared manicotti shells were the easy route.  (you remember, I am a marketer’s dream, right?)  I made it many, many times but then I decided it wasn’t worth the effort and I pretty much never made manicotti again.

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At some point (about twenty years later), I realized that manicotti was supposed to be made with tender and thin crepes, not pasta.  And I realized that it is actually a lot easier than you might imagine.  Go figure — I didn’t know it all at 12.  Remind me to tell you some time about the first time I attempted to make a lemon dessert involving lemon zest, which I had no idea how to accomplish.  The word chunky comes to mind.

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So, my new manicotti is made with whole wheat pastry flour crepes and it can be done in about an hour.  And for what it’s worth, I guess it is sponsored by Cuizoo.

Manicotti with Whole Wheat Crepes

Serves 4
(Could easily double for a crowd)

Prepare Crepes:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups of water
2 eggs
1/4 t of salt
Canola Oil

1.  Mix whole wheat pastry flour, water, eggs, and salt with a wire whisk until completely blended.  It should look like very thin pancake batter.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet with a bit of canola oil over low heat.  (I very rarely use non-stick pans anymore, but this is one job that it is almost essential for — unless you have a very well seasoned cast iron pan.  Make sure the non-stick coating is not flaking or scratched and use only over very low heat.)  Use a pastry brush to make sure the oil is spread all over the pan.

3.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter  into the skillet and tilt the pan so it spreads out completely (about a 4-6 inch circle).  Let cook 1-2 minutes (or a little more depending on how hot your “low” heat is) until the surface of the crepe looks dry.  Loosen with a knife or thin offset spatula and gently flip.  The crepes should not get browned at all.  Cook one minute more and remove to a plate.

4.  Repeat with remaining batter until all crepes are cooked (this makes about 12-14 crepes).  Stack crepes on the plate as they finish and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.  You can make these ahead of time and wrap tightly and store in the fridge.

Prepare Filling:

15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley (basil is nice too)
6 oz. of shredded mozzarella (or italian blend of mozzarella, parmesan, etc.)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 t dried Oregano
1 t salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all in a medium bowl.

Assemble Manicotti:

10 crepes
Ricotta mixture
1 jar of prepared tomato sauce, or about 2 cups of homemade sauce
Additional shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese
Chopped Parsley or Basil for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  In a 9×13 glass pan, spread about 1 cup of tomato sauce, covering the entire bottom of pan.

3.  On a clean plate, take one crepe and spread about 2-3 T of ricotta filling down the middle.  Roll up crepe and put it in pan, seam side down over tomato sauce.

4.  Repeat with remaining crepes and filling (I fit 10 crepes in a 9×13 pretty nicely — eight going down the length of the pan and the remaining two end-to-end on the side.)

5.  Cover filled crepes with about 1 cup of additional sauce.  Sprinkle with additional cheese.  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, uncovered.  It will start to bubble along the edges a bit.  If you like (after baking) you can broil it for a few minutes to bubble and brown the cheese on the top.

6.  Let stand about 10 minutes to firm up and sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil before serving.

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10 Responses to “Manicotti with Whole Wheat Crepes”

  1. Cole says:

    Another home run meal! This was fantastic … they were so light. No way it was whole wheat!

  2. amanda says:

    Can’t wait to make these! That picture at the end is fantastic. I can’t remember the last time I made manicotti. The boil-ahead method is rather off-putting, I agree.

  3. Debbie says:

    I made this for dinner. It was so yummy. My husband really enjoyed it. My girls seemed to like it too. I have never made crepes before so I didn’t know what to expect. After making a mess of my first 3 crepes, I realized I needed to be patient and wait until the crepes were very dry and a bit stiff before turning. Once I learned this, I felt like a master at making crepes.

  4. Val says:

    These were a BIG hit tonight! The whole family loved the manicotti–including the 3 and 5 year-olds! Will definitely be making them again.
    I made 9 crepes from the batter, but it worked out fine. Also, to save time, I made the batter first and while it rested, made the filling and put the sauce in the baking dish. Then as one crepe was finished cooking and the next in the skillet, I filled and wrapped the cooked crepe and popped it right in the baking dish.
    Served it with a sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and chickpeas, which was a nice complement to the manicotti.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kristin says:

    So glad to hear that!

  6. April says:

    I know I am late in my response. But this recipe comes very much in handy for me! Whole grain manicotti doesn’t seem to exist in stores or online, so I am so glad to find this post! Thanks! Can’t wait to try!

  7. Amy says:

    I was having a bit of trouble with the crepes and canola oil. I was even using a pastry brush, but my first few crepes were tearing when I tried to turn them. Then I switched to cooking spray and it worked great. I really don’t know why. Anyway, its in the oven and I can’t wait to eat! Thanks!

  8. Thanks so much for this. This might sound a little strange, but I spent the first couple of years of my teenage lifein Rome, then travelled all over the globe. Now I’m living in New Zealand, with my Chinese wife, and son we had whilst in Japan! Truly internationalized, eh? Anyway, I’ve been trying to rediscover the smells and tastes of my youth with some authentic Italian recipe like these, best I’ve found so far! Thanks again, I’ll see if I can add the feed to my google reader tonight, though my son usually does that for me!

  9. kyle p says:

    This recipe has become a Christmas favorite at my house. We traditionally made a stuffed pasta of some sort for Christmas but since we now only eat whole grain pasta in my house that presented a problem. These crepes are light and delicious. I substitute white whole wheat flour and no one is the wiser!

  10. Elyse Orecchio says:

    Thanks for this recipe! It’s my go-to lately when I need something for company or for a friend with a new baby. Like the others, I can’t believe they’re whole wheat. They’re so light! I add spinach to my filling. Delicious!

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