Savory Crespelle with Marinara

Savory Crespelle with Marinara
I am inspired by so many wonderful flavors this season that has been really hard for me to narrow down what to make.  I have been researching recipes in preparation for my next dinner club which is to be hosted at my house in September.  The theme is “Masquerade Theater” and it’s going to be amazing.  Please look for the entry at the end of September. 
Stacks and stacks of cookbooks and binders of recipes have entertained me this last week.  I found several recipes and made most of them.  There were none that were worth blogging about or any that I would ever make again, except this recipe that I think you will love.  It is called, Crespelle, Italian for “crepe”.  Sometimes called, Fazzoletti Della Nonna, translated in english as “grandma’s handkerchiefs”.  This recipe is adapted from another savory crepe recipe that contains cooked italian sausage.  My version does not contain meat, but please try it because it is probably wonderful.  Just make sure to brown the sausage first.
Personally, I am facinated with the cooking of other countries.  In some ways, I believe they “do it” better than America.  I’m deeply attracted to countries that devote time and importance to culinary culture and the art of cooking.  To be blunt, I wish American cooking possessed the same authenticity that I find so insanely romantic in the preparation and cooking of food in other countries.  To me, the greatest restaurant find is one whose chef is extremely well travelled or has spent a majority of their life outside of America.  Those are the chefs, through their own talent in the kitchen, enrich us with culinary culture and sweep us away, if not momentarily, to places we dream about.
Crespelle prior to baking
The whole idea of Crespelle is intriguing to me.  It is a savory italian crepe that can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients.  This recipe is made with a ricotta stuffing and offers itself as a light meal.
1/4 C. Flour
1 t salt
dash of white pepper
2 eggs
3/4 C. milk
1 T melted butter
Olive oil
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, whisk eggs with the milk.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and lightly work them together with the whisk. Cover and refridgerate for an hour.
Prepare nonstick skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat.  Using a papertowel, wipe the inside of the skillet to distribute oil throughout surface.  Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop out batter and place in the middle of the skillet.  Holding on the the handle, take the skillet off the burner and rotate the handle so the batter even distributes.  Place back on burner for just under 2 minutes.  Flip the crespelle using a spatula.  The edges should curl up a little.  Cook for 1 minute and transfer crespelle to a baking sheet.  Do not overlap crespelle as they will stick together.
Crespelle Filling:
1 1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1 T chopped parsley
1 t. mixed italian seasoning
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
dash of salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 C. marinara sauce, divided
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parsley, italian seasoning, garlic powder, parmesan, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly scraping down sides and folding together.  Prepare your 9 x 13 baking dish for the crespelle by covering the bottom with 3/4 C. marinara sauce.  Arrange crespelle on your counter in a row.  Using a spoon, scoop out one large spoonful of filling and place it on half the crespelle. Fold over and add more filling to one side, fold again.  At this point your crespelle should look like a triangle or one of your grandmother’s hand kerchiefs.  Place crespelle on baking sheet with the tip pointed to one end and repeat slightly overlapping crespelle until your baking dish is full.  Pour remaining marinara over the top.  Add grated cheese over crespelle and bake for 25 to 28 minutes until golden brown and edges are crispy.