Recently, I made a few lasagnas for "freeze and reheat" lazy cooking nights. In the aftermath I had a bunch of leftover ricotta, mozzarella and ground beef!
What's a girl to do but make manicotti! The problem? I didn't have any manicotti noodles, and didn't really want to go buy them.
The solution was simple. Instead of a pasta noodle, I would make crepes and roll my own manicotti delights. An Italian meal with a French twist!
Obviously, this recipe is for a meat and cheese dish, but you could easily replace the filling with whatever your heart desires.
ps: If you're looking for more savoury crepe meals, check out my Crepes with Curried Chicken Bechamel Sauce recipe!
Meat and Cheese Manicotti Crepes (Serves 4)
For Crepes (yields 8):
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- salt, pepper, parsley and basil to taste
1) Start by preparing your crepes. Mix together all ingredients and whisk until smooth.
It's worth noting that my standard crepe recipe calls for only 3 eggs. I add the extra egg for this because we're using the crepe as more of a pasta, so the extra egg gives it a better consistency and flavour!
2) On the stove, place a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add small amount of butter and coat pan, then pour crepe batter in, lightly covering the bottom of pan. Cook approx 1 minute and then flip, cooking an additional 30 seconds, or until crepe is completely cooked and slightly browned.
3) Repeat until all your crepes are ready, then set aside.
4) Prepare your sauce. add your oil to the same pan (less dishes!) keeping the heat at medium-high. Add your diced onions and garlic to the pan, cooking until soft. Add your ground beef and cook until browned.
5) Pour 1/4 - 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over your ground beef. You want the beef to be just coated in sauce, not dripping. Season with salt, pepper, basil and parsley to taste.
6) Pre heat your oven to 350F. Grab a clear baking dish, and coat the bottom in a thin layer of tomato sauce.
7) Start assembling your manicotti. Take a crepe and lay flat. Take a tablespoon of ricotta cheese and smooth lengthwise along the middle of your crepe. Take a large spoonful (or two) of your meat sauce and pour over top of the ricotta, also lengthwise.
8) Roll your crepe from either side until the filling is secure, then place seam-side-down in your baking dish. Repeat until all crepes have been rolled.
9) Sprinkle the top of your manicotti with your mozzarella cheese, then pop in the oven for approx 10 minutes. Right before eating, switch on the broiler for 3 minutes, then remove from oven.
10) Add all remaining tomato sauce to any leftover meat-mixture in your pan and season as needed. Pour over the top of your manicotti before serving!