The word is getting out that even though we can’t eat wheat, celiacs (and others who must follow a gluten free diet) still love to eat pasta. There are a few establishments in the Philadelphia area that offer gluten free pasta, such as Giorgio on Pine in Center City, Café Alessio in Doylestown, Café Monterosso in Yardley, City Kitchen Pizzeria in Southampton, and Maggiano’s Little Italy in Center City, King of Prussia and Cherry Hill, NJ. However, if you’re really missing home-made pasta, just like Nonna used to make, why not try to make it yourself?
The easiest GF pasta to make is manicotti. Manicotti (at least in my family) are thin crepes rolled up with a filling, sauced and baked. (Some may argue that this is really a cannelloni, and it very well may be…you say tom-ah-to, I say tomato.)
Gluten Free Manicotti Shells
2 c. GF flour mix (such as Jules , my fave, or Bob’s Red Mill)
2 c. water
¼ tsp. salt
1. Mix all ingredients in a blender (you can also use a hand- or stand-mixer, I like the blender because you can just pour it onto the pan.) Batter should be thin. (Thinner than pancakes.)
2. Lightly spray a small non-stick pan with cooking spray (the smaller the pan, the smaller the shell will be.) Heat pan over medium-high heat. Pan is ready when a drop of water placed on it sizzles.
3. Pour batter onto pan, swirling pan to spread the batter out.
4. When the edges start to curl up (usually 60 seconds), carefully flip crepe to finish cooking (30 to 60 seconds more.)
5. Stack finished crepes on wax paper. Continue cooking until all batter is used up.
6. Fill with filling.
Mom’s Manicotti Filling
1 15 or 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
¼ c. grated Italian cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Locatelli-whatever you like)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, 1 T. fresh or 1 tsp. dry
2 or 3 crushed meatballs (optional)
1. Mix egg lightly with a fork before adding to the ricotta, in a large bowl.
2. Add rest of ingredients, mixing well.
Putting it all together
1. In a shallow glass or ceramic casserole dish, cover the bottom with your favorite tomato sauce.
2. Place one crepe on a plate or piece of waxed paper.
3. Spoon the filling in a line, ¼ of the way up the crepe.
4. Roll the crepe up.
5. Place seam side down in the casserole dish.
6. Continue until you have a single layer of manicotti. Cover with sauce.
7. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes.