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Manicotti - Crepe Or Pasta??

Do you find that the crepe method gives as clean a “bite” as the pasta method?

Which are more conducive to freezing?

Do you have any tips for making either method?

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  1. I've never heard of the crepe method for manicotti. I have for canneloni though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      Now, cannelloni, I make a pasta that is as thin as a crepe. But it is definitely pasta, rolled out, not fried batter in a crepe pan.

      1. re: rasputina

        I was brain dead the other day and got them mixed up. Don't know what I was thinking lol.

        1. re: rasputina

          Not hard to do, they are so very similar. Like real cousins vs kissing cousins!

      2. Crepe, I can't imagine using pasta myself. I know upscale caterers that use Ronzoni manicotti shells, but no thanks! If you're looking for "bite" though, maybe you'd like to go that route.

        My recipe makes about 16 so there's never enough leftover to freeze, so can't say about that. Wait, I think I HAVE frozen, but it's sort of delicate in that respect. OK if it's just you eating it.

        I use the good ol' Pollio recipe from the 1970s, like most around here do.

        1. I, for one, prefer the shells, but, only for convenience. If I have the time, the crepe method is nice, but, as inexperienced as I am with it (with crepes in general - the one food I never bothered learning to prefect), sometimes it's just not worth the bother.
          As for freezing, I have relative success with both. The shells hold better but the crepes have the best taste & texture when reheated.

            1. re: pegasis0066

              Sounds good but that photo is atrocious. Not the lighting, but the wedges(?) and them sitting on the edge of a bowl(?). Question marks because it's confusing. What's wrong with putting a slice on a plate and calling it good?

              1. re: pdxgastro

                I assume this is some kind of fried version? But hard to tell.

              2. re: pegasis0066

                I love this:

                For the Tomato Sauce


                2/3 cup canned Italian tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes)

              3. Just to clarify, I would be making the pasta rolled very thinly, myself. The commercial shells would not be an option, they are too thick. I would be boiling them and then stuffing them.

                My fear is that the crepe / crespelle, regardless of how thin they are, would be more doughy than the boiled pasta style.

                However, for me, the crepe / crespelle will be much easier.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Unkle Al

                  I make crespelle, and they are never doughy. Much lighter and airier than the pasta version, however I have never frozen them. They're almost ethereally light.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I agree. And if you put them in the oven for awhile, they will even puff a little. (The best I ever had was in Rome. It was filled with Gorgonzola, topped with a Parmigiano bechamel and then broiled until golden. Amazing.)

                  2. re: Unkle Al

                    Pegasis has linked to a Marcella Hazan recipe above made with crespelle. I have made her crespelle many times - they are delicate and I much prefer them to pasta manicotti. I usually make them with her Bolognese and bechamel.

                    1. re: Unkle Al

                      I prefer the crepes for Manicotti. I don't find them doughy at all.

                      1. re: Unkle Al

                        I've made canneloni with the crepes a few times and have filled and frozen them uncooked and they come out great. FWIW, this has always been with a mushroom/bechamel filling.

                      2. My MIL loved the crepe method. She would create the batter the day before, make the crepes in the morning and feed her family the same day.

                        If she was creating manicotti for a large crowd, maybe several trays for a party she would use pasta in order to have the bite others preferred, the freezing option and the leftovers for days.

                        The crepes are wonderful but delicate.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                I fell for a recipe in a high end Italian Cooking Magazine that used no boil lasagna sheets for the pasta. I had some extra Del Verde sheets which make a delicate lasagna so I thought I'd give it a shot. Inedible gummy chewy awful. Now I stick with the ready made Ronzoni or Prince shells. Maybe I'll give the crepe method a shot. The last time I made crepes was ages ago but the Julia recipe with Wondra flour was easy peasy

                                1. re: Berheenia

                                  Yeah..I'm not a fan of the no boil pasta. Crepes are a completely diff pasta experience, right?! The first time I had them was in my MIL's kitchen. I kept thinking french crepe in my mind and when the Sunday gravy hit my tongue I had a brain freeze of momentary confusion. But I got over it very quickly and looked forward to the dinners where these were served.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I have two go-to recipes for when I want to impress, Italian style. Cannelloni if I want to spend hours in the kitchen, and manicotti made with crepes when I don't have the time. Hard to say which goes over better with guests.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      Yum! Both would make me a happy lady!!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Well if you're ever out on eastern LI let me know!!

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Maybe I'll make both and we can do a comparison......

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Should I bring wine, sparkling water or both?

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                Nah we can do a tour of the vineyards, instead, and come home to an Italian dinner! There are several that specialize in Italian style wines. Feel free to PM me, anytime.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Oh my...you know how to win a gal over, don't cha!
                                                  Thank you!

                                  2. re: Berheenia

                                    I throw everything in the blender and let it rip--batter always comes out perfect using plain old flour.

                                2. My aunt always made manicotti with a basic crepe-like batter poured frugally into a 6 inch skillet, not browned much at all; they came out light, thin, defined in texture, and elegant. Folded like a handkerchief over simple ricotta and herb filling, and topped (not drowned) with her salsa di pomodoro and a sprinkle of grated pecorino (no mozzarella), they took maybe 10 minutes in a medium oven to heat through and blend the filling. Each remained separate, not swimming in a lake of sauce and cheese. They were blissful.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bob96

                                    I love the fold. Where is the filling put before folding, one quarter only, half or all over? Want to try this next time. Thanks.

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      Take about 2 tablespoons of filling and place it as a dollop in the center of the circle. Then, fold both sides over so they just touch and slightly overlap, forming a kind of soft rectangle=oval, with the filling just showing. Top lightly with sauce, maybe some extra grated cheese, and bake.

                                  2. Original recipe makes 4 servings, Change Servings...

                                    2 cups all-purpose flour
                                    2 cups water
                                    6 eggs
                                    1/4 teaspoon salt

                                    Directions: Make sure sure the filling is done first...

                                    Mix together: flour, water, eggs and salt to make a thin, smooth batter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto lightly greased griddle. Cook until top forms film. Flip. Take off heat and roll.