I start with a crepe batter to make my Manicotti, although, I know you can buy "pasta tubes" in the grocery store, this version just melts in your mouth and has been a favorite of my family for over 30 years when I came up with the method. I will admit however, my homemade marinara sauce has been replaced by Raos, which I discovered while living in Connecticut. It's made by a family in a New York restaurant (by the same name) that Frank Sinatra had a table at when he came to town. However, it reminds me the most of the North End of Boston and the wonderful Italian restaurants we have eaten in. This sauce is a little pricey, but so worth it. (I actually buy it by the case when they notify me of "free-shipping" because it's cheaper than buying it in the grocery store.)
Spinach & Cheese Manicotti
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose four
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
In a large bowl (I like to use my 8 quart pyrex measure to have a spout), whisk the 6 eggs together. Add the salt and whisk once more.
Add the flour and water, alternatively, whisking after each addition until the ingredients are incorporated.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
2 lb. container of whole-milk Ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Emmental cheese (you can also use Fontina or Gruyer)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly grated Nutmeg
1-10oz. pkg. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed of it's moisture.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
This recipe will make 18-24 crepes, I only used 8 for our dinner and froze the rest; which I will show you how to do.
In a 9" x 13" glass or enamel baking dish, pour about 1/2 of a 32 oz. jar of sauce. If you have made your own sauce (God Bless You!) then, it's about 2 cups.
Begin making the crepes (cut 24 6" squares of wax paper to place the crepes on, stacking them):
1. Preheat an 8" non-stick pan on medium heat for a few minutes.
2. Lightly brush the surface with olive oil.
3. Pour (or ladle) about 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and swirl to cover the bottom.
4. Cook just a few minutes--the edges will look dry, then, flip it over using a small spatula.
5. Cook about 1 minute more, then, transfer to a rack with a square of wax paper on it.
6. Continue making the crepes before starting to fill them.
Preparing the Manicotti: Preheat oven to 375F-degrees
On a clean surface, place one of the crepes in front of you and measure about 1/4 cup of the filling. Place it down the center of the crepe, then start at the end closest to you to fold and roll up. Place seam down into the baking dish with the marinara sauce.
Once all the Manicotti has been made, spoon a little additional sauce over them and sprinkle with additional Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese.
Cover the Manicotti with aluminum foil or a silicon lid like the one I found at Sur La Table for large baking dishes.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes, until brown and bubbly.