Parfait! Manicotti Crêpes

01bCrepeRakebfLOWhile out east visiting my sister, I proudly presented her with a ‘crêpe rake’ – a simple kitchen gadget that I find makes the act of forming nice looking crêpes a snap.

Of course, being my big sister, her crêpes turned out just fine, thankyouverymuch, without using said wicked cool crêpe rake.

01aBadCrepeLO*sigh*

I don’t care, I am sticking with my rake when making my crêpes.

Good thing, too, ‘cuz look at how my first crêpe turn out without using it:

Yeh, not pretty.

01cNiceCrepebfLOSO, go ahead and get yourself a crêpe rake, or, if you’re perfect, like my sister, just go ahead and swirl your pan expertly to form nicely shaped crêpes; then grab some spinach and cheeses and pasta sauce and make yourself this recipe, because, man!, is it tasty!

INGREDIENTS
Crêpes:
•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1 egg
•1 cup skim milk
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/4 tsp salt

02aParsleybfLOSpinach Filling:
•3/4 cup chopped baby spinach
•1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
•1 pint cottage cheese
•2 cups shredded cheese*
•1/4 cup Parmesan
•2 eggs
•1/2 tsp seasoned salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce, to taste)

01dCrepesbfLOTomato Sauce:
I used a version of my favorite Doctored Pasta Sauce with ground pork

*I used a mix of Provolone, Mozzarella, and Swiss cheeses.

First, make the crêpe batter by whisking the flour together with the egg.

Slowly whisk in the milk, then add the olive oil and salt and continue to whisk until you have a smooth batter.

02bCheesesbfLOWarm one tablespoon of oil in a crêpe pan or small skillet over medium heat, then add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the crêpe batter to the pan; tilting the pan to spread the batter evenly, or, use your wicked cool crêpe rake.

Cook for about two minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip the crêpe and cook the other side for about two minutes.

02cFillingbfLOTransfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

Crêpes made, it’s time to put the filling together…

Heat your oven to 350º.

Note: traditionally, ricotta cheese would be used for this filling, but I swap out cottage cheese. It is waaay lower in fat and calories – even if you use the full fat (4%) version. And, why wouldn’t you use the full fat (4%) version? Take a look at the ingredients:

“cultured skim milk, cream, salt.”

03aCrepeFillingbfLOCompare that to the ingredient list for 25 or fat-free cottage cheese.

Yeh, I thought you’d see things my way.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Place two or three tablespoons of the cheese and spinach mixture off-center on a crêpe as shown, then roll, pinching lightly to fill out the crêpe as you roll.

03bCrepesRolledbfLOPlace the crêpe, seam side down in a baking pan (I used a 2-1/2 quart 12 x 9 inch pan), then repeat with the remaining crêpes, arranging them side by side in the pan.

Note: I got nine decent crêpes out of my batter, with the help of my wicked cool crêpe rake. Your results may vary.

04bBakedbfLOCrêpes made, filled and rolled, we almost  there!

Cover the crêpes with your tomato sauce of choice, then top that with shredded cheese.

Pop into the oven and bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbly, the cheese melted, and everything is nicely heated through – about 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes or so before serving.

Mebbe with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley on top and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.

05aManicottiCrepesbfLONice.

Thinking about this recipe, I really have to wonder why you would even bother buying manicotti pasta anymore?

And, thinking again, why didn’t I use crêpes in place of manicotti when making that PIA black bean manicotti dish last year?

Hmmm…

let me grab my wicked cool crêpe rake and get back to you on that…

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