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Crepes with Ricotta

This is simple comfort food for a weekday dinner or an easy and filling main course for a dinner party. You can make the crepes in advance and refrigerate. Feel free to play around with the filling. Ricotta and spinach is a classic Italian filling but you could add sautéed veggies, mushrooms, chicken etc. If you can’t get ricotta, use soft homemade or store-bought cottage cheese (paneer). This is the same filling for a hearty cannelloni or a layer in a vegetarian lasagna. Omit the salt in the crepes, serve with a sauce and fruits and you have a dessert recipe ready.

The Crespelle

Makes 8 crespelle:

¾ cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

¾ cup milk

1 tbsp melted butter

Olive oil

Putting it together:

1. Whisk the flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.

2. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth

3. Whisk in the melted butter.

4. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 hours.

5. Heat a non stick pan of approx. 10” and brush with olive oil

6. Pour about ¼ cup of batter and rotate the pan to even out the batter till the edges.

7. Cook until golden brown below, then flip and cook till brown in patches on the other side.

Transfer onto a plate.

8. Repeat the process for the remaining batter. Brush the pan with oil only when required.

Ricotta and Spinach Filling

1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped

½ onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Olive oil

1 ½ cups ricotta cheese (or soft cottage cheese)

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmigiana (Parmesan) or any other hard cheese

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chia seeds (optional)

1. In a pan, heat some olive oil and cook the onions and garlic. Add the chopped spinach with a couple of table spoons of water. Season. Cover, stir and cook till wilted.

2. Combine the cooked spinach with the ricotta, parmigiana and parsley. Season to taste. You can adjust the ratio of ricotta to spinach as per your liking.

3. Keep aside or refrigerate if using later.

The Tomato Topping:

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, whole

2 cups cooked tomatoes, chopped without skin or 1 can chopped tomatoes concentrate

2 tbsp tomato puree (store-bought or use this recipe to make your own at home)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh basil leaves

Oregano and chilly flakes (optional)

Making the sauce:

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Flatten the garlic cloves with a knife and add to the hot oil to infuse flavour and aroma.

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and a splash of water.

Season and add a few basil leaves. You can add some oregano and chili flakes if you like.

Remove the whole garlic cloves.

Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken in about 15 mins.

Take off from heat and keep aside.

Final Assembly:

In a baking dish, spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom.

Fill each crepe with the filling on one side. Sprinkle some chia seeds for that extra healthy touch. Chia seeds are a great source of protein and Omega 3.

Fold in half and assemble neatly on the baking dish, slightly overlapping.

Top with the tomato sauce, grated Parmigiana or any hard cheese, and chopped basil leaves.

Season with some crushed pepper. Cover the dish with foil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 mins. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 mins till golden brown and bubbling.

Try these baked dishes:

1. Vegetarian Lasagna

Tryserve with a salad on the side. I like to combine with a tangy Orange, Walnuts and Feta Salad (see recipe under Salads).

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