Main Dishes

Homemade Manicotti

Made using homemade crepes and an easy sausage-based tomato sauce, this manicotti recipe is a family favorite for senior food editor Amy Traverso.

By Yankee Magazine

Dec 01 2021



Photo Credit : Brian Samuels | Styling by Catrine Kelty

Manicotti is considered the Italian-American version of cannelloni, and it’s often made with store-bought pasta tubes, but in senior food editor Amy Traverso’s family, they always used homemade crepes (crespelle in Italian). The crepes were usually topped them with homemade Bolognese sauce, but here we’ve streamlined the process by coming up with a sausage-based sauce. The crepe recipe is nearly identical to Julia Child’s, because why mess with perfection? You can make the crepes and the sauce a day or two in advance, then finish the dish on the day of your gathering.


8 servings

For the crepes


1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cold milk
2/3 cup cold water
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons melted salted butter, plus more for brushing pan


First, make the crepes: Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush with some melted butter. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and tilt in all directions to form a thin pancake about 8 inches wide (you’ll need about 16 crepes total). Cook until golden on the bottom, then flip and cook briefly on the other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking the crepes with layers of parchment or wax paper in between. If not using right away, wrap the crepes in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the sauce


¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice


Next, make the sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes (cut up any stubborn chunks with a pair of kitchen scissors). Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, and allspice; reduce heat to low, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. If making in advance, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

For the manicotti


3 cups whole-milk ricotta
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh basil
Zest of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese


When ready to assemble, make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parsley, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spoon or pipe a line of filling down the left side of each crepe, then roll the crepes around the filling to form tubes.

Spoon a bit of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Lay the crepes in an even row over the sauce, then top with the remaining sauce plus the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.