Sunday Pasta®: Crespelle Crespelle alla Fiorentina (Spinach and Ricotta)

Who am I? 24601. I am Jean Val Jean. Though I am Javert too. But aren’t we all a little bit of both? Hide and seek starts young, but never really stops. Cops and robbers is a relentless game.  We search. We hide.  Depends on the day and situation.  Saturday mornings, I am Jean Val Jean as I dodge and weave and try to avoid a day of chores. By night fall, I am Javert, in hot pursuit of my kids’ electronic devices.  Other days we all chase or avoid: clients and customers, employees and bosses, spouses and ex-spouses,  friends and lovers, bills and rent, the taxman and the Grim Reeper.  Who am I? Who are we? We are all a little bit 24601.  As for Russell Crowe. Who knew? The guy can sing (but he’ll never be a gladiator in my mind again.)

The moral of the story, of course, is to enjoy Sunday Pasta while ye may.  It offers a temporary reprieve to all of us. So escape. Relax. Rest. And for just a moment, don’t be among Les Miserable.

As for the French and Italian food… Well yes, crespelle are essentially crepes, originally from Brittany. But they are but one example of a cousin cuisine.  When Catherine de Medici married King Henry II of France, she brought with her from Florence to Paris an army Italian ingredients, cooks, and recipes. And Vice versa. Bechemel sauce, now common in Italian cooking, is named for the Marquis de Bechemel, a steward of Louis XIV. The cross culinary pollination runs deep.

Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo

p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.

Sunday Pasta® Recipe: Crespelle Crespelle alla Fiorentina (Spinach and Ricotta)
 

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

For the Filling:
2 cups spinach, cooked and chopped
12 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
 
For the Crespelle (Crepes):
1 cup of flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
For the Bechemel Sauce:
1/2 cup flour
2 ounces butter
2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 
1 cup tomato sauce
 

Instructions

With a spatula or wooden spoon, press the excess water out of the spinach. Add the ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix together well.

For the Crespelle

Prepare the batter like pancakes by mixing the eggs with the flour, milk and melted butter. On a hot skillet, melt butter and add a thin layer of batter. Flip when cooked through. Do not brown. Repeat.

For the Bechemel Sauce

In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter, add the flour, and then the milk. Stir in the milk gradually, with a wisk. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Do not allow to get too thick.

To Assemble the Crespelle

Take each crepe and add a large spoonful of filling to the center. Ration so that an equal amount goes into each. Place the crepes into a large, buttered, baking dish. Cover with the Bechemel and then place spoonful of tomato sauce on each. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

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