Our latest shoot whisked us away to a beautiful locale in southern Italy, the Palazzo Margherita. For those of us unable to make the trip, we asked Teresa Follo, our senior graphic designer’s nonna (grandmother, in Italian), for a recipe that would transport us to the country known for their delicious and rustic cuisine. Written in the fashion of a true nonna, her instructions involve a little this and a little that, but that’s the best way to cook, we say.
Nonna’s Homemade Manicotti
2 cups flour
2 ½ cups water
Salt to taste
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Favorite homemade Italian gravy (or spaghetti sauce)
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Mix flour, eggs, and water in a large bowl. Using a small gravy ladle, pour batter into a small non-stick skillet, forming a very thin pancake, and cook for less than a minute. Slide and flip crepe over, cook for a few seconds, and immediately remove from heat, placing on foil sheet. Cook one at a time, stack in a pile, and let crepes cool.
In a separate large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, and grated cheese together. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large casserole dish, spread homemade Italian gravy or Italian spaghetti sauce on bottom of pan. Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each crepe (lengthwise) and fold one end over the other. Arrange crepes with seam sides down in dish, fitting as many as you can. Ladle additional sauce on top, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and cover with foil.
Bake for about half an hour or until you can remove a clean toothpick from the center of a crepe. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve with your favorite Italian bread.
Teresa Follo, on her wedding day
Recipe for Homemade Manicotti, as written by Teresa Follo