Thursday, August 5, 2010

Manicotti Ala Steph

For years, I’ve been wanting to make crepes, but for some reason have been hesitant to try – perhaps because it’s French and therefore must be difficult. After seeing them made several times on TV and being further inspired by Steph over at Plain Chicken, I decided to try her manicotti method. I made the crepe’s using her recipe and the manicotti using her recipe with the addition of some homemade Italian sausage that I discovered in the freezer.

For the crepes. I used an 8” non stick skillet and brushed on a little olive oil for each crepe. I found the key was to get the batter whirled around in the pan quickly, then cooked as Steph described. They were incredibly easy to make and I’ll now look forward to more crepe dishes. I made them up early in the afternoon and kept them covered so they wouldn’t dry out. I got 8 from the recipe using a pretty full ¼ cup dry measure cup.

For the stuffing, I had 1 ¼ lb of the sausage and browned it all in a skillet and drained it on a paper towel. I used about ¾ lb of it in the stuffing.

Steph’s recipe called for a jar of your favorite sauce, but remember that tomato sauce I made yesterday, I turned it into my homemade pasta sauce by the following recipe. I basically used the spice package and substituted the pre-made sauce in place of the tomatoes and paste. I also omitted the sausage since I was adding it to the stuffing.

1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 med Onion, chopped
3 med Garlic, cloves, pressed
1 stalk Celery, diced
1 ea Carrot, diced
2 qts Diced tomatoes, separated
½ cup Tomato paste
4 tsp Italian herbs (Pensey’s)
2 ea Bay leaves
To taste Salt and pepper
4 tbsp Butter (if needed to smooth out sauce – I don’t use)
1 lb Italian sausage, cut into bite sized pieces

· In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot until all are soft (about 10 minutes)
· Add 1 quart of tomatoes and bring to a boil.
· Remove from heat and puree in food processor or use emersion blender. Return to pan.
· Add remaining tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and meat.
· Simmer for 2 hours.
· If too acidic for your taste, stir in butter (can also add a little sugar).

After cooking, I used the trusty immersion blender to puree the veggies. I was watching “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” the other night and this lady was making mole sauce and after cooking everything, she pulled out an immersion blender that was about the size of a trolling motor – it made short work of the job. She was making 15 gallons and Guy suggested she just mount a small outboard motor to the side of her pot.

Knowing the sausage increased the volume of the stuffing, I couldn’t use the recipe amount, so I measured out eight equal piles of the stuffing before starting and ended up with about 3/8 cup each.

After I got the big casserole dish all ready with sauce, Bev came in and said why don’t we use these and I agreed it would make them sexier to have individual servings.

I decided it would be easier to put them in a larger pan and cover with foil rather than try and cover each one - we only had three of the larger dishes.

Add a little fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and it’s ready to eat, along with a little Caesar salad.

It was delicious and thanks Steph for the recipe, the crepe idea and the motivation. Didn't think about this until later, but with home made crepe, sausage, and sauce, I’d have to go into the cheese making business for it to be more of a homemade dish. Next time, I might add a little fresh basil to the stuffing.

Have a great day, stay cool, and remember to vote, if you live in Tennessee. Thanks for stopping by.



  1. Okay, if you say they are doable, I may give them a try. But I think they're scary!

  2. It really is easy and Bobby Flay did some yesterday and made it look even easier - he cooked his about 2 minutes on side one and they were lightly browned.

  3. Larry, these look great. I'm proud of you for taking on crepes. They sound scary, but they're easy. Meakin is our crepe maker and he loves to flip them. In fact he's fascinated with flipping them. Perhaps he's just a show-off.

    We keep an 8" non-stick skillet just for making crepes and it's off-limits to anything else.

    We just love our immersion blender. Emerill calls it a boat motor. It is so handy we couldn't live without it.

  4. A small outboard motor?? LOL. I've only made crepes once and couldn't believe how easy they were and how well they turned out. Haven't made them since and have no idea why. They're sooooo good and so many filling options. I saw Steph's recipe and have got to give this a try and soon. That salad along side that beautiful dish of Manicotti looks like a beautiful meal Larry.

  5. Very nice, Larry. I agree, the single-serve dishes are sexier! (and if you've read my posts, you know how much I love sexy dishes) Not only that, they're great for quick lunches later in the week.

  6. What a beautiful dish, Larry. You really mastered the art of making crepes. The crepes freeze well so putting together a special meal can be easy to do.

    Outboard motor...Haha.

  7. Those manicotti look great!! I love the single serve dishes. I'll have to do that next time. I am so glad you conquered your crepes fear too!

    Now I want manicotti for dinner!

  8. Larry, beautiful crepes and the manicotti sounds and looks wonderful. And I love our immersion blender. Have a wonderful weekend. Is there any doubt? ;)

  9. They look beautiful Larry! You two are going to have to open a bed and breakfast, your meals are fantastic! I'd be your first customer. :)

  10. I keep meaning to find some of those oval ramekins. I know everything will taste better in them.

  11. The single servings are way sexier, I agree! Maybe i'll give crepes a try, they look difficult...but I think I could do it.

    Do you watch “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” often? One of my local places got featured recently and their business has gone up quite a bit-wonder if you caught it, The Tee Off in San Francisco?

    Love your blog, thank you for writing!

  12. Oh my gosh, these look great Larry. I am all for individual serving casseroles. Great that you conqured crepes and came up with this great dish! My David is all over DD and D. He has a running list of all of the diners and his quest is to go across country on his motorcycle stopping at all of Guy's picks. Funny how our priorities diverge. I would rather go to France. . . . we will work it out. LOL

  13. Look at you, making food sexier!

    I saw Anne Burrell make manicotti with crepes on her show earlier this year and made her crepes but not the full dish yet. This makes me want to try it.

    Great job, Larry!

  14. Wow you made this picture perfect. I could eat a half dozen of these and be very content.

  15. Larry, Great looking pasta and salad! Not being a chef or even much of a cook, it's beyond what I'd try...But Laurie and I can drool!


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