Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday Supper ~ Spinach & Cheese Manicotti

Sunday supper at my Mom's was always special and what I missed the most when we moved across the country in the 80s.  It was like having Thanksgiving every week because of the preparation she put into it.  Everything homemade and sitting around the table with conversation of what had gone on during the week was something to look forward to.  I like to keep that day special too, even if it's with just me my hubby; an honor to my mother and the love she had for her family. Yesterday, I made homemade Manicotti, which is easy to do and with my recipe, if you just have a small gathering, will have extra to freeze for later.

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  I will admit however, my homemade marinara sauce has been replaced by Raos, which I discovered while living in Connecticut.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
Crepe batter:
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.
 While the Manicotti was baking, I made up the remaining crepes--which was another 13, to freeze for later.  Here's how:
Place the Manicotti on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet (that will fit in your freezer) which has been lightly sprayed with a baking oil.
Place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes; until frozen by touch.  Remove the baking sheet and place the frozen Manicotti into freezer bags and label the date.
They will keep up to 6 months in your freezer--that's a lot of Sunday Suppers!  Do you make a special Sunday Supper?  Enjoy!


  1. Susan, those sound absolutely wonderful and look scrumptuous. I'm trying to go salt-less, though, so it may be awhile before I can make them. The cheeses have salt, right? Well, I can always put it for a future yum yum session. Thanks for the recipe, directions and photos! Susan

  2. Wow, this sounds SO good! And I love you can keep it in the freezer. Great recipe.

  3. OMG! my mom used to make manicotti too, but goodness this recipe! i must try it. writing it out this minute. YUMMY! thank you susan :)

  4. The crepes are wonderful with other fillings too!

  5. My mouth is watering Susan. I'm sure this is just wonderful and having more in the freezer is great. I've only made crepes a few times, but this recipe may mean I'll be making them very soon. Thanks for sharing. xoxo ♥

  6. Yes, please! What a great recipe....and your pictures are so pretty!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I make Manicotti also---but I cheat with an electric crepe maker. (a gift from daughter, Amy, a long time ago.) I have a favorite recipe but your version looks wonderful. I do thank you for the tip of using Raos---it's the best by far! I buy it at our Martin's store---did not know that you could buy it by the case! Hugs

  8. You are such an amazing cook!! This looks simply amazing!

  9. I'm impressed! I have never seen anybody make manicotti before! The sauce sounds delicious too! I might try the filling with some store bought manicotti though.... I don't think I would attempt making those on my own!

  10. These look absolutely droolworthy, Susan. The 4-cheese filling sounds just amazing!

  11. Sounds great Susan! Now that I know your sister has the ability to make the crepes we will request it for our stitching group! I will try the Raos, did not know could get it at Martin's. Linnea