WHAT YOU NEED

Crèpes:

  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (for crèpe pan)


Tomato Sauce:

  • 2x 500ml cans high-quality, whole tomatoes (hand-crushed with all its liquid)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
  • ½ cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ red bell pepper – seeded and sliced in 1” strips

Filling:

  • 2 cups (500 g) Ontario ricotta (I recommend Salerno)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) Ontario smoked mozzarella (Tre Stelle)
  • 1/3 cup (75g) grated five-year Maple Dale Cheddar
  • ½ tbsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted Ontario butter
  • 2 cups homogenized Ontario milk
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS


Crèpes:

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk well so that it is lump free. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour (4 hrs is ideal).
  • Make the other elements of the manicotti while this rests. Once rested, warm an 8-inch or larger non-stick pan on medium heat and wipe with some vegetable oil (I use a paper towel, and vegetable spray also works).
  • Ladle or pour 2 oz (1/4 cup) of batter into pan, turning and tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. As the edge of the crèpe cooks and releases from the pan, flip it over to finish cooking. Avoid cooking too long or any dark colouration. 30 sec per side is about all it takes. 
  • Move crepes to a sheet tray with parchment paper to cool. Avoid overlapping the crèpes as they will stick together when warm.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 4 until all the batter is used up.
 
 

Tomato sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom medium pot, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently until translucent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and red pepper, and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste and simmer for 30 min.
  • The tomato sauce should not be too thick. Double check the seasoning, remove the red pepper and set aside, keeping warm.
 

Filling:

  • Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with a spoon until it looks homogenous. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste, hold in the fridge.
 

Béchamel Sauce:

  • In a small sauce pot, make a roux by melting the butter then whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes (until the raw flour smell is no longer present). Whisk regularly and don’t let the roux brown.
  • Add the milk in a slow, steady stream while whisking and continue to whisk until fully smooth. Let cook on low until the sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and white pepper (if available). Consistency should be thin enough to pour and thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
  • Keep warm and set aside.
 

Assembling your manicotti:

  • Lay out your crèpes on a dry clean surface.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of filling onto each crèpe and spread evenly over the middle 2/3 of each crèpe. Roll the crepes up.
  • In an oven safe casserole dish, spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange the rolled manicotti side by side in the dish.
  • Cover in more tomato sauce and drizzle the béchamel liberally over top.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40 minutes. Make sure that it is bubbling all over.
  • Remove, uncover and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a little extra hot tomato sauce and freshly grated aged cheese to top. Garnish with some freshly torn basil.

Dairy Inspiration

Tomato sauce and pasta in a black iron skillet, placed on a wooden table

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