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This is an easy, authentic recipe for homemade Italian Manicotti Crepes passed down to me from my Italian Mother.
Not only is each family recipe I share special because it has been handed down to me. It’s special because it has a memory that I get to share with you. In a way it’s like I’m writing a book of my family history through the eyes of food.
Nothing makes me happier than sharing recipes with meaning. These homemade manicotti are no exception. I hope you will make them for your family and create a special memory too.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NEEDED TO MAKE HOMEMADE MANICOTTI
Besides loving this dish for as long as I can remember, I love the memories it brings of my mom preparing these homemade manicotti for holidays and special occasions.
I remember she would sit down at our kitchen table with this electric crepe gadget -thingy cranking out crepe after crepe before most holidays and special occasions. It was impressive to watch and a family favorite.
Although I loved watching her, I didn’t really help her make them.
Actually it wasn’t until a few years after she passed that I was brave enough to take on the family tradition. Luckily enough, she left behind her recipe.
AND even more lucky, I get to share it with all of you!
Make this Recipe Now
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HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE MANICOTTI
Now that you have all the necessary ingredients to make homemade manicotti, you might be wondering how hard they are to make…
I am here to tell you, they are NOT as difficult as you might think.
Even though my mother always used this special gadget, all you need is a good 8- 9” non-stick skillet. Works every time.
I know at first glance these homemade manicotti can look very intimidating, but I promise you they are noe. With just a few practice swirls of the batter, you’ll get into a rhythm and be a pro in no time.
How to Make the Pasta Crepes
The first steps in this recipe is to make the batter. Do this by combining milk, water, eggs and flour with a pinch of salt. You can mix the batter by hand using a mixing bowl or you can use a blender. I’ve also used my VITAMIX for this.
Whichever way you decide to mix the ingredients, just allow the batter to sit for a bit before getting started.
Also, keep in mind the batter should not be thick. It should be thinner than traditional pancake batter and should spread out onto the pan quickly as you swirl it around.
Once the batter has set, grease your non -stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Practice with a few crepes at first – especially if it’s your first time.
After all these years, I still lose the first few until I get into a groove.
Once the crepe sets you can gently flip it over for a minute and then set aside to cool.
Before you begin to prepare the pasta, you will want to preheat the oven. Then start to make the filling which includes ricotta cheese, diced mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese, eggs and parsley.
Do not forget to season with salt and pepper before mixing all the ingredients together.
How to Roll Manicotti
The next step in the process is to begin filling (really rolling) the crepes. Start by placing the pasta crepe on a flat dish (or board) and then scoop a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta filling into the center. With the back of a spoon begin to spread around the filling.
It’s important to fill the crepe with enough ricotta filling, but don’t cover the whole crepe. Only go about 1/2 way up the crepe, leaving approximately a 1/2″ on the sides. Now carefully roll the crepe up 3 times.
You can also gently press down as you roll to push the filling out towards the sides. But not too much or it will leak out the sides when it bakes.
How to Bake
When all the manicotti you need are rolled, they are ready to be layered into a baking dish.
Before layering into a baking dish though, put some basic tomato sauce on the bottom and thin it out with a little water. It’s a good idea to swirl the water and sauce around before you begin to place the manicotti into the pan. Be sure to place them folded side down.
Cover the manicotti with more tomato sauce, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese some shredded mozzarella and then, cover with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes.
After the first 30 minutes, carefully remove the tray from the oven and discard the foil. Now return the manicotti back into the oven for at least another 30 minutes. You will know they are done when the ricotta filling is cooked through and the crepes begin to puff up a bit.
DO I NEED TO USE FRESH TOMATO SAUCE FOR HOMEMADE PASTA
The age old question! “Can I use jarred sauce?”
I honestly do not care, if you have a brand that you love by all means use it. Just remember to keep it simple.
This recipe however, is based on 1 batch of my San Marzano Tomato Sauce. If you love homemade sauce like me, then make it. It does make a difference in my opinion.
KEEPING THESE TRADITIONS ALIVE
Growing up these light and fluffy Manicotti Crepes could always be found on our special occasion table. Although I am not sure if I make them as well as my Mother or Mother in Law, they always bring me back to those special moments in time with my Mom in the kitchen and all the LOVE she put into every meal.
Even though I was usually too busy to want to learn at the time, I bet she would surprised to know how much I actually learned from her by just standing around watching.
Moreover, I know she never could have imagined that the love she shared with us in her kitchen would one day be extended to all of you.
Whenever I make this recipe, any of my mother’s dishes really, I treasure that reminiscent feeling of unconditional love and warmth that can only come from a Mother’s kitchen.
NOTE: Content and Photos on this page were edited on October 27, 2022. The recipe remains the same.
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Homemade Manicotti Crepes
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water more if needed - add gradually
- 1 cup flour sifted
- pinch salt
- 6 large eggs divided (4+2)
- 3 cups ricotta cheese Drained of all water
- 3/4 pound Low moisture Mozzarella Cheese Diced
- 1/4 pound Low moisture Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Handfull Fresh Italian Parsley chopped
- 1 Batch Simple San Marzano Sauce recipe link below
Making the Crepes
- Beat 4 eggs, add milk, water and flour In thirds... mixing well in between each addition. Heat an 8" non stick pan with cooking spray. Pour Manicotti batter into the pan and swirl until set. Flip over if desired for a few seconds and then transfer to a plate.
Preparing the Manicotti
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare/warm the sauce. In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, diced mozzarella, grated parmesan, parsley, and 2 eggs together.
- Lay Manicotti Crepes on a flat dish, scoop a heaping tablespoon of Ricotta filling into the crepe, spread around using the back of a spoon 1/2 way up the crepe-leave about a 1/2" on the sides. Carefully roll up abou the crepes 3 times while gently pressing down and pushing the filling out towards the sides.
- Put about 2 cups of basic San Marzano sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Add a little water and swirl around. Lay the finished Manicotti, folded side down, into the pan. Repeat until done. Cover the manicotti with sauce, sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese on top and the shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove tray after 30 minutes. Remove foil and place back into the oven (middle-rack) and continue to cook until cheese filling is cooked through and the crepes begin to puff up a bit. Approximately 25 minutes.