Friday, April 8, 2011

Gluten Free Crepe Manicotti (Manicotti Spinach Crespelle Besciamella)

This recipe uses Crespelles in place of dry Manicotti shells. Crespelles are Italian crepes (also known as Manicotti crepe); they can be used in many Italian dishes. They can be rolled, stuffed, stacked or folded. Use for dishes, like lasagne, manicotti and cannelloni.
serves 6-10
Country: Italy

Makes 7 12” crespelles
(or 14 6” crespelles)

1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup whole bean flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 large eggs
1cup milk
1 1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Garlic Béchamel Sauce (Aglio Besciamella)

1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp rice flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups warm milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
pinch of Nutmeg


1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups gf dry curd cottage cheese
2 large egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

To make crespelle:

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer combine brown rice flour, whole bean flour, arrowroot flour, corn starch, xanthan gum, eggs, milk, water and a pinch of salt; blend until smooth.

Transfer batter to a pitcher and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Lightly oil a 12” or 6” non-stick skillet or crepe pan; at medium high heat. Pour in batter and quickly tilt skillet to spread batter evenly over pan bottom. Cook crespelle until you see the top dry and firm and the edges curl and lift from the pan, flip pan upside down on a plate covered loosely in foil.

Continue to make crespelles, stacking them as you go. Add more oil to pan as needed.

To make Garlic Béchamel Sauce (Aglio Besciamella):

Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan; add garlic and sauté just until tender. Gradually sprinkle in the flour, and stir well with a wooden spoon until smooth in consistency; cook gently for 1 minute. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly, cook until the sauce is the thickness of heavy cream. Remove from the heat, taste for salt, add a pinch of nutmeg and stir in the grated Parmesan.

To make filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Set a large skillet over high heat.

Chop spinach and transfer to a bowl. Beat in Parmesan, cottage cheese, egg, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add lime juice, lime zest, and thyme; beat until smooth.

Spread a 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.

Spread crespelles 1/4 of the way from the bottom with spinach filling. 

Loosely roll up crespelles and place them in the baking dish seam-side down, on top of sauce. 

Cutting at an angle, trim the ends on each roll to expose the filling, then cut each manicotti roll in pieces (12” in thirds and 6” in half)

Pour remaining sauce over crespelles; garnish with shredded parmesan

If you want to prepare this dish ahead make the Manicotti rolls cover and refrigerate. Don’t add the sauce until ready to bake then serve or the manicotti will absorb all the sauce. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.


  1. For the Bechemel..1/4 butter. Is that 1/4 cup?
    Also, in the list of filling ingredients, 1/4 cup of ? after the spinach.

    1. Sorry about the tardiness of my reply. The flue has been raking havoc on my family this month. to answer your question 1 yes it is a 1/4 cup butter 2 the ingredient after spinach is 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese grated. so sorry for the mistakes. I really appreciate you letting me know, sometimes when i'm proof reading i miss thing. This is a very rich meal and i wouldn't recommend it be a daily dish but Bechemel is a very rich sauce, you could defiantly us a lower calorie lower fat version of a White Sauce.


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