My Homemade Manicotti Recipe

How to Make Homemade Manicotti

Four years ago I wrote three blog posts about how to make homemade manicotti. That means these were some of the first blog posts I ever wrote. I divided it into (1) making the crepe batter, (2) making the crepes, and (3) stuffing and baking the crepes. I have no idea why I decided to do it like this. It’s confusing. It’s hard to follow. The recipe isn’t coherent. And you need to have multiple browser tabs open at once. It’s awful.

So today I bring you ONE POST how to make homemade manicotti. With a more comprehensive recipe, better photos, and a lot less of a hot mess.

Here’s what you need to know when you start: you need to start this process at least 36 hours in advance. That said, you could actually make the crepes ahead of time to spread out the work. Alright, now you know. Here we go – homemade manicotti.

Making the Crepe Batter

That’s right. Manicotti is essentially a crepe stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella. You could use these crepes for anything – Nutella, berries, etc.

Ingredients

Makes 20-24 crepes

1 ⅓ cup flour, sifted
1 ¼ cup milk
4 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter

Tools

Measuring devices
Mixing spoon
Bowls
Sifter
Blender

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour.
  2. Add milk to sifted flour a little bit at a time until well-blended.
  3. Put the flour and milk mixture into a blender.
  4. Add eggs, salt, and melted butter to the blender.
  5. Blend ingredients together until smooth.
  6. Cover and refrigerate the batter (in either the blender, bowl, or other container) for 12-24 hours before making crepes to make sure the bubbles have a chance to dissolve.

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Making the Crepes

This part takes a little bit of time and keeps you standing over the stove for a little bit. It also takes some pretty skilled wrist-work. The first few times I ever tried this I failed miserably.

Ingredients

Oil for frying (if necessary)

Tools

⅛ cup measuring cup
Frying pan, approximately 5.5”
Wax paper
Spatula or fork to flip crepes
Plate to cool crepes on
Paper towel to put on plate to cool crepes on

Instructions

  1. Take the batter out of the refrigerator. Slowly stir it by hand a few times to ensure the mixture is homogenous.
  2. Put very little oil in the frying pan. This may not be necessary if the pan is non-stick.
  3. Heat the pan with the oil to a temperature where if a drop of water is placed in the pan it splashes back out. Keep heat consistently right below this temperature constantly for even cooking.
  4. Add ⅛ cup of batter to the pan and swirl the pan (off the stove) so batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. This must be done immediately after putting the batter in the pan.
  5. When the bottom of the crepe is golden brown, flip it over.
  6. Cook it briefly on the other side.
  7. Once the crepes are cooked, put them on a plate to cool. Once they have cooled, place them in a stack with wax paper in-between each one. This makes it easier to (a) store them, or (b) stuff them. They can be stored in the fridge or freezer until you decide to use them.

It takes about 45 minutes to fry 24 crepes.

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Stuffing the Crepes

Now this next part is going to take some calculation and ratios, but I have faith in you. There’s really no way to screw it up. It’s cheese, in a crepe.

Ingredients

1 1b. Ricotta per 12 crepes
1 lb. shredded mozzarella per 36 crepes
1 egg per 12 crepes
Grated cheese to taste
Black pepper to taste

Tools

A large table or counter
Bowl
Mixing spoon

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Lay the crepes out on the counter (each one should be on the piece of wax paper it was stored with)
  3. Divide the filling evenly among the crepes. Place the mixture on the lower third of the crepe so that it is easier to roll.
  4. Roll the crepes like a log.

It takes about 1 hour to make the filling and stuff 24 crepes.

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Baking the Manicotti

Now, yes, you could make your own sauce, but I haven’t quite been that adventurous yet. Nor have I had the time. If you’d like, you can doctor up the jarred sauce by adding an onion and garlic and cooking it for a few hours before you need it.

Also, fun fact. The first time I ever made these my mom told me the way to tell if they were done was to stick your finger in the center of them and see if it burns.

Ingredients

2 jars sauce per 24 crepes
Oil
Grated cheese

Tools

Oven
Oven safe pans that will fit the manicotti
Tin foil

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom of the pan(s)
  3. Put a thin layer of heated sauce on the bottom of each pan
  4. Place the rolled manicotti in the pans all going the same direction so they’re easier to serve.
  5. Coat the manicotti in sauce so they don’t burn.
  6. Sprinkle the top with extra grated cheese.
  7. Cover the pan(s) with tin foil to keep the heat in.
  8. Cook the manicotti for 30-45 minutes, or until the insides are hot.

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Serving the Manicotti

Serve the manicotti with extra sauce, garlic bread, and salad. And meatballs if they’re your jam.

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And that’s it. I recently had the privilege of cooking manicotti for 12 of my closest blogging friends in Austin. It was so much fun to bring a little bit of Italian goodness down to Texas. I’m definitely hoping to get the chance to do it again next time I’m there.

PS. I definitely forgot to take the money “Pinterest-worthy” photo of the final product, but you can’t always win, right? At least I’m getting closer.

My Manicotti Adventure – part 3

So I hope you all enjoyed the videos!! Time for the actual making of the manicotti. This process took approximately 2 hours.

Make the filling:
1 lb. Ricotta per 12 crepes (my mother assures me store-brand is okay)
1 lb. Shredded Mozzarella for 36 crepes
1 egg per 12-18 crepes (depending on how heavy you want them to be)
Grated cheese, black pepper

Mix all of the filling with a big spoon.
Line up all of the crepes on the counter so that you can fill them all at the same time.
This is what that looked like in my apartment (3 different locations of crepes)…

This is what that looks like in my house at home. (This is clearly why you need a 15 foot island in the middle of your kitchen…)

(My mother might now kill me.)

Divide the filling evenly among the crepes. Place it on the lower third of the crepe and shape it like a log so that it’s easier to roll. Roll each crepe the same direction.

Grease the bottom of the pan with crisco.
Put a thin layer of heated sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Place the rolled manicotti in the dish all facing the same direction so that they’re easier to scoop out.
Coat the manicotti with sauce
Cover with tin foil in the oven to keep the heat in (do not leave any gaps) – – – I forgot this step.
Sprinkle the top with cheese.
Cook them at 350 degrees. A singular 9″x13″ pan full takes 30 minutes, adjust accordingly for more. I had 2 9″x13″ pans and a small pan for a few extras. I think I cooked mine for close to 45 minutes.

How do you know when they’re done? (this answer is verbatim)
They poof. Or you can stick your finger in the side and if it burns, it’s done.
(Oh, Italians…)
Johanna pointed out that I shouldn’t use a finger that I really need.

Good luck if you’re going to make them, they were pretty easy, but definitely took a lot of time. Maybe it’s because it was only my first time. I’ll probably just have to try again 🙂

We have a CUPID winner – Johanna!  Stay tuned for a post on the winning card.
(Granted I haven’t had time to confirm this yet, but I trust her engineering degrees.)

My Manicotti Adventure – part 2

So after I let the batter sit in the fridge for 24 hours, I decided (at 11:15pm) that it was time to fry up the shells/crepes.

Here’s the second part of the instructions –

Use a pan around 5.5”
Put very VERY little oil (only if you need to – my pan was non-stick and that was easier without it), heat it (a tiny drop of water should splash back out)
Keep stove on medium (5 or about halfway)
Add 1/8 of a cup of batter
Pour into the lower half of a tilted pan, circle-tilt pan until it covers the entire bottom and return to horizontal position
When the bottom of the crepe is brown (golden) shake the pan to loosen the crepe and turn it with a stainless spatula
Cook it very briefly on the other side

My mother told me it takes about 45 minutes to make a batch and a half. 75 minutes later I was done. These shells easily store with wax paper in between each of them wrapped in a bag in the fridge or frozen (so you can do this part ahead of time!).

So I know that the directions sound confusing, so I decided I was going to try to record a video for all of you. (My first video with words!) So I tried a few times, and I came out with two videos – one where I say something incorrect (option #1) and one where I make a crepe with a hole in it (literally only 2 out of 40 had holes in them… option #2). So I’m going to let you pick your poison.

Option #1:

Option #2:

Oh, wait. You want to know where the camera was. Resting very delicately in/on/stretched-into-the-elastic-neck-band-of the t-shirt I was wearing. Yes, I know, classy.

Also – please don’t get discouraged. My first one looked like this… oops.

Today’s CUPID Numbers are C-3 and D-51.

My Manicotti Adventure – part 1

This week I’m going to tell you all about my manicotti making experience. I found myself saying a lot throughout this process – “I’m not Italian enough for this” – and if 87.5% isn’t “Italian enough” – I’m really not sure what is (the other part is French in case you were wondering). I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with my mother as she gave me the recipe. It looked like this:

Please note that I needed a glass of wine next to me for this experience. I decided to make 1.5x the recipe. A normal batch makes between 20 and 24 crepes and I was aiming to feed 20 people, figuring that everybody would have 2 probably. (Note: I was wrong. With a group of all girls (with other food there) it is VERY possible that they will all only eat one… I ate leftovers for a while.) Anyway – here’s the breakdown.

Wednesday night – make the shell batter
Thursday night – “fry” the shells
Saturday day – stuff and bake

Here’s the first part of the recipe:

Makes 20-24 crepes:

  • 1-1/3 cup flour, sifted
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Oil for frying

Sift flour
Add milk a little bit at a time until well-blended.
Put it all in a blender.
Add eggs, salt, melted butter.
Cover in refrigerator for at least 12 hours so it goes flat.
Feel free to put it in a bowl.

 

PS. Today’s CUPID Numbers are C-2 and I-39.