crespelle with ricotta and marinara

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A few months ago, I found a few old Food & Wine magazines at the library for fifty cents each.  Of course I purchased them, even though they were from 2008.  This recipe is one of the first that stood out to me as I browsed.  For quick dinners, I love simple recipes with only a few components.  Especially those that can be made ahead!  These crespelle fit both criteria.  I served this dish with a basic green salad, and the meal was light, but satisfying.  I think that sautéed mushrooms or chicken (or both!) could be added easily to the crespelle to add a bit more substance if you prefer.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

 For the crespelle:
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur brand is my favorite) or all-purpose
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Olive oil

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Italian parsley (if you can’t get fresh parsley, you can use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried parsley)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Barilla Traditional Marinara, but use whatever you like)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in the butter. Cover the bowl and chill for 1 hour.
While the batter is chilling, mix the ricotta with the parsley, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper is a good place to start). Cover and refrigerate until the crespelle are cooked and it’s time to fill them.

Heat a 10 inch nonstick pan over medium high heat. Coat the pan well with olive oil using a paper towel. Scoop ¼ cup of the crespelle batter into the pan and tilt to coat the bottom. Cook for about 2 minutes, until golden brown. Flip, and cook for about 1 more minute. Place the crespella on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. You should end up with 8 crespelle.
Place the crespelle on a work surface and divide the ricotta mixture among them evenly, about 2 rounded tablespoons each.

Fold each crespella in half over the filling and then in half again.
Spread about ¾ cup of the marinara in a 9×13 baking dish. Place the crespelle in the dish in a single layer; they will overlap slightly.

Pour the remaining sauce over the crespelle. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate, or bake immediately. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle the crespelle with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden, and the sauce bubbles. Serve hot.

Serves 4

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