Crab and Ricotta Manicotti

As mentioned previously, I have hundreds of recipes saved up and, in particular, I have dozens of bookmarked recipes from all the blogs I read.  One of those recipes is Crab and Ricotta Manicotti from Confections of a Foodie Bride, which I've been hanging onto for two years.

See my previous post for all my woes about trying to find Manicotti noodles; in summation, I couldn't find ANY.  So I substituted small square lasagna noodles that I found at Eli's Manhattan:

 The crab, ricotta, egg, Parmesan, herb mixture:

Here is how it looked while rolling them up:

And the finished product - the crab and ricotta mixture in the noodles, baked in bechamel sauce:

The lasagna noodles worked seamlessly in the dish - at least the ones I used - I don't know that I could guarantee that result with every lasagna noodle brand.  I stuffed it very generously, which I'd recommend highly.  I encourage you to play around with the recipe: it was rich and creamy but Adam and I found ourselves wishing for some heat, some warmth.  Next time I make it (and there will be a next time), I plan on adding cayenne or Old Bay seasoning.  But I definitely feel like it needed another level of flavor.

I also consulted THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page for some inspiration.  Under "crab", I got some other flavor ideas that could work in this dish: chives, scallions, saffron, Tabasco, balsamic.  All might work here.

But this is why I love this dish and why I'm likely to try it again: it leaves lots of room for interpretation and improvisation.  My favorite!  And if that weren't enough, per Shawnda's blog post, I froze a portion of the dish so it's on deck for a meal this week or next.  Which is a working parent's get-out-of-jail-free card!

Eat, drink, and get creative!

Crab and Ricotta Manicotti
(I used Shawnda's recipe verbatim, with the exception of the pasta shell debacle and she adapted it from EVERYDAY PASTA, 2007)
1 box Manicotti pasta shells (12-15 count)1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese1 cup grated Parmigiano-Regiano cheese, divided1 egg yolk
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 lb lump crab meat, inspected for shell pieces (King Crab legs are our favorite to use)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
Bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
Prepare the bechamel sauce. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter or spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Cook the pasta shells in salted water until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, 3/4 cup cheese, egg yolk, basil, parsley, crab, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Fill the pasta shells with the crab mixture and place in the prepared baking dish. Top the filled manicotti with 2-3 cups of the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
To freeze: Prepare as instructed and freeze. To reheat, bake 50-60 minutes if completely frozen (covered with foil until the last 5-10 minutes) until bubbly and hot throughout.
Yields: 6-7 servings
Bechamel sauce
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the milk one cup at a time, whisking until completely smooth after each addition. Whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes (do not boil).
Yields: Approx 4 cups


Brandi said...

Beautiful! I may have to try these myself. I wonder if it'd work with fresh homemade pasta. I never know when it comes to lasagna noodles.

Anonymous said...

I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this manicotti widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about manicotti recipes,Thanks!