Cheese Folds

Crespelle con Formaggio

Mary Ann Esposito

SERVES 8 TO 10

Crespelle means "folds", folded pancakes that is. I first had them in Torgiano, where Chef Angelo of Tre Vaselle turns them out faster than lightning. The crespelle, made from a crepe-like batter, are cooked in a frying pan. The action is all in the wrist as you flip each crespella. I serve these as a first course.

FILLING

6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1/2 cup cubed Asiago cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup cubed Italian Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup Provolone cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

CRESPELLE BATTER

About 1 3/4 cups King Arthur (tm)unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
1 large egg yolk, beaten
1 1/2 to 13/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS

To make the filling, in a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to blend well. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, and stir until smooth. Raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce just coats the back of the spoon. Turn off the heat and add the cubed cheeses, Parmigiano, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

To make the batter, sift 1 3/4 cups flour, the salt, and nutmeg together into a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs and egg yolk, 1 1/2 cups of the milk, and the butter. Whisk the mixture until smooth and the consistency of pancake batter. If the better seems too thin, add a little more flour; if too thick, add a little milk.

Lightly butter a 6- or 8-inch crepe pan or a frying pan (I use a Teflon-coated one). Heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1/4 cup of the batter and swirl the pan to make sure the bottom is evenly coated with a thin layer of batter. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on the underside. Flip the crespella over and cook the other side until lightly browned. Remove the crespella to a sheet of wax paper. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the crespelle between wax paper as you make them. Lightly grease the pan every so often to prevent the batter from sticking.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- -12-inch baking dish.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of the filling over each crespella, making sure to cover the surface evenly. Fold each crespella in half, then in half again, and place them in the buttered dish, slightly overlapping them. Spoon the remaining filling over the crespelle and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until piping hot. Run the crespelle under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the top, and serve immediately.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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