Three Cheese Crepe Manicotti

During my college days, I was lucky enough to celebrate Easter with one of my roommates and her large Italian family. It was always an amazing feast. One of the first courses served was a homemade manicotti. I’ve loved it ever since- and now think of it in the springtime.

I was drawn to the “French” twist in this version, using crêpes in lieu of pasta. They were tender and delicious. Lovely.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine contributed by Christine Dimmick. I adjusted the seasoning and ratios. I also modified the crêpe batter technique from using a blender to hand-whisking, and to cooking them on a lightly oiled crêpe pan, my tried and true method. This dish could be modified to include any variety of fillings in the crêpes. Next time I may incorporate spinach or mushrooms. 🙂

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (15 ounces), preferably fresh
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 6 ounces)(part-skim okay)
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped basil, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • vegetable oil, for the pans
  • 3 cups tomato sauce, preferably homemade (I used local Mamma Lombardi’s Marinara Sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta with the mozzarella, basil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, to taste.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour and eggs until thoroughly combined. Add the water and a generous 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Heat an 8-inch crêpe or omelet pan over moderately high heat. Using a brush, lightly oil the pan and add a small ladle of the batter (about 1/4 cup); working quickly, swirl the pan to coat it evenly.
  4. Cook until the top of the crêpe is dry and the bottom is lightly golden, about 1 minute. Flip the crêpe and cook until the bottom is lightly golden, about 20 seconds longer.
  5. Transfer the crêpe to a large plate and repeat with the remaining batter to make a total of 16 crêpes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
  7. Coat the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish with 1 cup of the tomato sauce.
  8. Arrange the crêpes on a work surface. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ricotta filling in a line down the center of each crêpe. Loosely roll up the crêpes, burrito-style with ends folded in, and arrange them, seam side up, side by side in the baking dish. (I placed them in 2 rows of 8 crêpes.)
  9. Pour the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce over the manicotti and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  10. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the tomato sauce is bubbling and the manicotti are heated through.
  11. Garnish with basil, if desired. Serve piping hot.

Make Ahead: The unbaked manicotti can be refrigerated overnight. Allow up to 15 minutes longer for baking.

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Sheet Pan Chicken & Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce

This dish was a quick and special weeknight meal. The parsley sauce really made the dish fabulous. I loved the roasted lemon slices as well. We ate it with roasted potatoes and asparagus on the side. Eating it with a green salad and quinoa, suggested by the author, would also be lovely.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by cookbook author Julia Turshen. I increased the amount of chicken, mushrooms, and garlic. Delicious!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
 (I used 10 thighs)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (for each sheet pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz) mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini, stemmed and halved if large
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus slices for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish, as desired
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°, preferably on convection roast, and place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat. (I used 2 sheet pans but may try to use only one next time.)
  2. Season the chicken generously 
on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto each hot baking sheet.
  4. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the hot sheet and roast for about 5 minutes, until the chicken begins to brown.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms and lemon slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  6. Remove sheet pan(s) from the oven and flip the chicken thighs.
  7. Carefully scatter the mushrooms and lemon slices 
evenly around the chicken.
  8. Return the sheet pan(s) to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan(s) halfway through, until the mushrooms 
and lemon are browned and the chicken is cooked through.
  9. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil with the 1/2 cup of parsley, the vinegar and garlic. Season the sauce with salt.
  10. Transfer the chicken, mushrooms and lemon slices to a platter.
  11. Drizzle with some of the sauce and garnish with lemon and parsley. Serve, passing the remaining sauce at the table.

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Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This was casserole was truly a one-dish meal. It is so loaded with vegetables, I didn’t feet the need to serve it with a salad or other green on the side. 🙂 We enjoyed it as our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year. The “meaty” combination of lentils and mushrooms in this dish made my meat-loving family members happy. Don’t worry… they had corned beef sandwiches for lunch too.

My riced-potato topped casserole was filled with lentils, mushrooms, fresh herbs, as well as roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots. The sauce was flavored with dried porcini mushrooms, wine, onions, and loads of garlic. It was fabulously saucy with layers of rich flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Next time, I would prepare the components of the dish a day in advance, as much as possible. The potato topping would ideally be prepared in advance at the very least. This delicious dish was absolutely worth the work and the wait! Great.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Topping:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • ¾ cup brown or French green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 17 garlic cloves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 2 tablespoons white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups ½-inch pieces peeled fall/winter vegetables (such as squash, turnips, carrots, and parsnips) (I used 1 medium butternut squash, 1 head of cauliflower, & 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed, halved
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) bite-size pieces mixed fresh mushrooms (I used sliced cremini & white button mushrooms)
  • ¼ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, chives, and sage)

To Make the Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bake potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet until tender, about 40 minutes for the gold potatoes and 1 hour for the russet potatoes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then peel.
  4. Press potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or colander into a large bowl.
  5. Add butter; stir until well blended.
  6. Stir in milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool, press plastic wrap directly onto potatoes, and chill.

To Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Combine lentils, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15–25 minutes.
  3. Drain lentils and discard garlic. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Soak dried porcini in 3 cups hot water; set aside.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 10 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste is caramelized, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and wine; stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in porcini, slowly pouring porcini soaking liquid into pan but leaving any sediment behind.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl with a spout. Discard the solids.
  11. Wipe Dutch oven clean and returned strained sauce to pot; bring to a boil. (I had 5 cups of strained sauce.)
  12. Stir cornstarch and 3 T water in a small bowl to dissolve.
  13. Add cornstarch mixture to hot sauce; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Whisk in soy sauce/miso.
  15. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Vegetable Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss vegetables and pearl onions with remaining 2 T oil, 6 garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl or on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide evenly between the 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, stirring once, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; mash well with a fork and stir into sauce.
  5. Discard rosemary.

DO AHEAD: Lentils, sauce, and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Arrange lentils in an even layer in a 3-qt. baking dish; set dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh mushrooms and chopped herbs; layer on top of lentils.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. Spoon potato mixture evenly over. Swirl decoratively.
  5. Bake at 425°, preferably on convection, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process.
  6. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

I’m sharing my St. Patrick’s Day feast at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #163 this week. Enjoy!!

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Baked Rice with Chicken & Mushrooms

I’m home with my kids for their second consecutive snow day today! 🙂 It seems like the perfect time to share one of my new favorite comfort food dishes- baked rice. It’s a full-flavored, complete meal in one pot. Delicious.

This version was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. This dish was different that others that I’ve made in the past because after the rice is baked, it is garnished with a sautéed vegetable topping. Loved it. I used cremini instead of trumpet mushrooms, and increased the amount of mushrooms, garlic, and peas. We ate it with roasted broccoli on the side. It would also be wonderful with a green salad.

I’m bringing this dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #158 this week, co-hosted by Ai @Ai Made it For You and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 10), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large sprig thyme, plus 1 teaspoon freshly chopped leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups white Basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes, rinsed and drained
  • 20 ounces king trumpet mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or a mixture of mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 cups hot chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste with a little salt
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  1. Put chicken pieces in a 9×13-inch pyrex baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Pour olive oil into a 4-quart enamelware Dutch oven or similar heavy pot and set over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, 5 to 8 minutes, then season with salt.
  4. Add chicken, thyme sprig and bay leaf, and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
  5. Add wine and simmer briskly until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add rice and a large handful of mushrooms and stir to combine. (Reserve most of the mushrooms for garnish.)
  7. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Check broth for seasoning and adjust.
  8. Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  9. Transfer pot to oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Finally, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.
  11. While rice is baking, sauté remaining mushrooms: Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, rapidly stirring, until they have softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  12. Add peas, if using, and heat through.
  13. Turn off heat, then add reserved chopped thyme, the garlic and the parsley. Toss to coat well.
  14. Fluff rice, then top with sautéed mushrooms and serve.

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Fancy Chicken Tetrazzini

This was unlike any tetrazzini I’ve ever eaten. It was fancy! (for a rotisserie chicken casserole, anyway 😉 ) It’s probably not technically “tetrazzini,” but it was a smoky, full-flavored, and delicious comfort food dish. An upgrade.

The New York Times explained that this dish takes its name from the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini. It was once commonly found on menus in upscale restaurants during the early 20th century. (Who knew?) It has since become less fancy (until now!) and less Italian. 🙂 I loved the title of their article, “Chicken Tetrazzini, The Casserole Even Snobs Love.” I love all sorts of casseroles, so I suppose this fact confirms that I’m not a snob. 🙂

This recipe is from The New York Times, adapted from Mississippi chef Brad McDonald, contributed by Sam Sifton. I adapted the recipe further by increasing the garlic and by using mixed dried wild mushrooms as well as whole wheat pasta.

I’m bringing my fancy and snobby casserole to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #144, co-hosted by Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Margy @La Petite Casserole. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I used a mixed wild dried mushroom medley including porcini, shiitake, black, & oyster mushrooms)
  • 4 medium-size poblano peppers
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles, ends snipped and seeds discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-size shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (I used 3-year aged white Cheddar)
  • 1 pound spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, the meat removed and shredded, approximately 1 pound
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish, optional
  1. Turn broiler to high, and set a large pot filled with salted water over high heat to come to a boil.
  2. As oven heats, place the mushrooms in a small bowl, and pour boiling water over them, then leave them to soak for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, then strain and set aside.
  3. Place the poblanos on a small sheet pan, and set on the highest rack under the broiler so that the skin blackens, turning a few times so that the roasting is even, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. When the skin is blackened and blistered all over, place the peppers in a medium bowl, cover it with a plate and allow to rest.
  4. Make the sauce. Put the dried chiles in a medium pot set over medium-high heat, and allow them to cook until they become fragrant, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, then turn heat to low, and add the chicken stock, milk, garlic and shallots.
  5. Allow the mixture to cook at just below a simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the chiles have softened.
  6. Remove from heat, and pour into a blender or Vitamix, then add 6 ounces of the grated Cheddar, and process to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the skin and seeds from the roasted poblanos, and cut them into thin strips. Set aside.
  8. Heat oven to 400, preferably on convection.
  9. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling salted water in the large pot until just al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool, then drain again. (This step prevents the pasta from over cooking in the oven.)
  10. Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot, and toss it with the roasted pepper strips, the mushrooms, the shredded chicken meat and the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
  11. Transfer to a casserole dish, approximately 9 inches by 13 inches, and pour the reserved cheese sauce over it.
  12. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese, place in oven and bake until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  13. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.

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Pappardelle with Mushrooms & Prosciutto

This dish was featured on the cover of the October issue of Bon Appetit. It spoke to me! 🙂

It was part of an article written to change the way pasta is typically cooked. Their secret to saucy, glossy, perfect pasta is to finish cooking the noodles in the sauce – with added pasta water. This pappardelle was creamy deliciousness topped with crispy prosciutto. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used a combination of cut crimini and shiitake mushrooms as well as large shallots.

I’m sharing this dish with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #141 this week, co-hosted by Julianna @Foodie on Board and Zeba @Food for the Soul. I was honored to have my Weeknight Fancy Chicken and Rice post featured this week too! Yay!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces (6 slices) thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), cut into bite-size pieces (I used 1/2 pound crimini and 1/2 pound stemmed shiitake mushrooms)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 12 ounces pappardelle (or fettuccine)
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in same pot over high.
  3. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Add shallots and 1 teaspoon thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions. (I cooked mine just short of 3 minutes.)
  7. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  8. Crumble half (3 slices) of prosciutto into pot.
  9. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to cook down too much or the pasta will become too dry.
  10. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute.
  11. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  12. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.

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Fried Eggs with Greens & Mushrooms

This is another greens-loaded, fast and delicious weeknight meal. It would also be wonderful served at a brunch. The sage-chile butter really added something special to the finished dish. Hearty and vegetarian. Great!

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the amount of garlic and greens. I also used a combination of escarole, sugarloaf chicory, turnip and kohlrabi greens from my CSA share; any combination of greens would work well. We ate it with a sourdough baguette. I read a suggestion to eat it with grits which would be another tasty option.

Yield: Serves 2 to 4

For the Sage-Chile Butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon small sage leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

For the Eggs and Greens:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8-12 cups cooking greens (cut into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons), such as collard, mustard, or kale (or any combination)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • finely grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • sourdough baguette, for serving, if desired
  1. Make the sage-chile butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sage and red-pepper flakes. Simmer until sage is crisp, about 3 minutes.
  2. Make the eggs and greens: Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Swirl in oil. Cook mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon salt until golden and tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in garlic, then greens and water.
  4. Cook, stirring, until greens wilt. Add unsalted butter, and stir until melted.
  5. Push greens to make 4 wells. Crack 1 egg into each. Season with salt (and pepper, if desired). Cook for 4 minutes. Let stand until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with sage-chile butter. Garnish with grated cheese accompanied by baguette slices, as desired.

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