Crespelle? Never heard of it/them (pretty sure the word is the same singular or plural), but it's got it's own chapter in the book, albeit a small one with only 4 recipes in total.
This is the kind of recipe that is a bonus due to my participation in this project. I never would have tried it on my own - had no idea what a crespelle is, plus this recipe is not so much prepared as assembled, requiring the preparation of three other recipes found in the book - Crespelle, very thin pancakes (think crêpes) described at the beginning of the chapter and prepared by Deborah yesterday, Béchamel sauce and the increasingly ubiquitous Bolognese meat sauce.
The first time I encountered Bolognese meat sauce in another recipe, I started preparing it from scratch. Along with the main recipe, I spent I great Sunday afternoon in the kitchen. Never again. So one evening a couple of weeks ago I prepared a large batch, divided it into smaller portions and chucked them into the freezer - the only way to deal with Bolognese meat sauce.
All I had to do was thaw & reheat the meat sauce, whip up a batch of Béchamel sauce (easy), and make the crespelle. And this is where I shined! Marcella indicates that the pancakes, prepared in an 8-inch nonstick skillet, can be made well in advance - but I made them as the two sauces were sitting nearby. My first couple of pancakes were less than wonderful. Each pancake requires only 2 tablespoons of batter; the pan is tilted & rotated to distribute the batter evenly. Pretty easy, but not if the bottom of the skillet is too hot. After turning the heat down a bit, I was transformed into a crespelle maker extraordinaire - even able to flip the pancakes in the pan (well, it worked once). Below is the stack of pancakes waiting to be filled with the sauces.
A filling is prepared from the two sauces - 1 cup of the meat sauce, a 1/4 cup of the Béchamel sauce and a tiny grating of nutmeg. (What is it with nutmeg, anyway? It's in a lot of recipes). A heaping tablespoon of a mixture of the two sauces is spread on each crespelle, the pancakes are rolled up loosely and placed in the bottom of a baking/serving dish with the overlapping edges face down. The rest of the sauces are mixed together and spread over the crespelle; some grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and dots of butter are distributed over the top; the dish is popped into the oven for 5 minutes, run under the broiler for less than a minute - and that's it. Final result below.
What I liked about this recipe:
1. This was one of the few recipes so far that took less time to prepare than I thought when I started. Of course, having the Bolognese meat sauce in the freezer helped a lot. But still, this is pretty quick and easy.
2. This would seem to be a very versatile recipe - could see serving it to guests or some of our kids if they are around and it's very easy to save as leftovers if there are only the two of us. We have a stuffed manicotti recipe that is a regular feature on the menu chez Doug. This crespelle recipe is way easier and even better.
3. I liked the taste and texture of the baked crespelle a lot. Highly recommend this recipe.
4. Crespelle? Oh yeah, I know all about crespelle.
What I didn't like about this recipe:
I ran out of filling for the crespelle while I still had some pancakes sitting on the plate. The directions call for a heaping tablespoon of the filling in each pancake. Well, I think it needs a bit more. Next time I will increase my filling quantities by 50% - pretty sure that will be more satisfactory, at least chez Doug.
Would I make it again?
Let's see? - Quick and easy to make, very good result, sure to impress friends & family, easy to spread over two meals. Yeah, I'll make it again.