Monday, September 5, 2011

Crab Manicotti

I used to hate making manicotti.  I found it impossible to cook and stuff the dried tube things without tearing them.  It would often take three or four boxes of shells, just to get a dozen manicotti..  Then I learned a wonderful fact: real manicotti aren't extruded tubes, but crepes.  A simple four ingredient blender batter and a small frying pan is all it takes for a quick dozen non-tearing manicotti shells which can be made ahead of time and even frozen.  Wifey loves it when I make these for Valentine's Day.

  • Shells
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 cups flour (188g)
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Butter
  • Filling
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
    • 2 cups ricotta
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 minced garlic clove
    • 2 tablespoons died basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 8 ounces lump or jumbo lump crabmeat
  • Final Dish
    • 1 quart pasta sauce
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Shells
    • Blender
    • Small non-stick frying pan
    • Parchment or wax paper
    • Stovetop
  • Filling
    • Large mixing bowl
    • Mixing Spoon
  • Final Dish
    • 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish
    • Oven

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat.  Put the eggs, water, four and salt in the carafe of a blender and mix on low speed until smooth.  Melt about a quarter teaspoon of butter in the pan and wipe it out. You just need a thin coating to prevent sticking and it will last for two to three shells.  Pour two to three tablespoons of batter into the pan and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly over the pan.  Cook for about one to two minutes.  Lift one edge of the shell with a rubber spatula and flip.  Cook for a minute.  Stack the finished shells between layers of parchment or wax paper.  

Mix the cheeses, garlic, egg and seasoning together in a large mixing bowl.  Fold in the crabmeat gently, trying not to break it up too much.

Final Dish
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Spread about a quarter cup of sauce over the bottom of the pan.  Take each manicotti shell and place a thick line of filling across the center of the shell.  Roll the manicotti and place in the baking pan.  When all the shells are cover with a layer of sauce, then spread the mozzarella and parmesan over the top.  Bake for 25 minutes.