Tag: crespelle

Crespelle with Radicchio, Potato and Thyme

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

It took me a while to use radicchio not only raw for salads but cooked as well. It was a late discovery, but once I tried it, I loved it, especially for the Italian cuisine! One of my favourites is linguine with radicchio, mustard butter and sautéed chicken liver. My friend Judith told me about this recipe and it became a winter pasta classic in my kitchen. Or my purple risotto with spices and thyme, the colour is beautiful and the mixture of cloves, bay leaf and red wine is so aromatic and rich. Radicchio is great, it’s so strong, its unique bitterness is so dominant that it asks for more flavours to be added to it.

A couple days ago I mentioned that we had family from LA staying with us, so our days were split between walking through the city for some sightseeing and food, either from my kitchen or from one of the great places we visited. Italian restaurants, German restaurants, department stores (we focussed on the fish section), various cafés specialized in German cake, American cake or chocolates from all over the world. We savored for days, as always!

Coming back to the purple radicchio and to one of our lunches at home, I cooked crespelle for us one day, filled with a bitter sweet stuffing of radicchio, potatoes and thyme. I used the herb to refine the pancake dough and the filling which made it come though quite strong. It added a bit more taste to the crepes which would have been to soft for this filling on their own. All the bitterness and sweetness wrapped in these thin pancakes with a creamy Béchamel sauce inside and on top made us all enjoy in silence for a short while, until our delicious Italian wraps were gone!

Here’s a springy green version of my crespelle that I wrote about in March, filled with spinach.

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

For 4 filled crespelle you need

radicchio, quartered and sliced, 300g / 10.5 ounces
potatoes, cooked, sliced and quartered, 400g / 14 ounces
fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoons
garlic,  finely chopped, 2
red wine 60ml / 2 ounces
Balsamico vinegar 1 teaspoon
fresh parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil, add the garlic and radicchio and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft on medium heat. Deglaze with the red wine, take off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of thyme and the vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.

 

For the Béchamel sauce

milk 600ml
butter 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

In a saucepan, bring the milk with the bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the boil.

Melt the butter and whisk in the flour, let it cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Take off the heat and slowly add the hot milk, whisk until smooth and cook for about 3-5 minutes on lowest heat until it’s thick and creamy. Discard the bay leaf and season to taste.

 

For the crespelle

milk 160ml
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
fresh thyme leaves 1 tablespoon
butter for frying

Mix the ingredients well and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Heat some butter in a large pan and fry 4 thin crespelle, one at a time, golden on both sides.

 

To assemble

Set the oven to 200°C (top/ bottom heat).

Lay a crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the radicchio and potatoes and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Béchamel sauce on top, roll into a wrap. Continue until all four are done and put them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Switch on the grill for the last 1-2 minutes, this makes the crespelle a little bit crisp.

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

 

Radicchio, Potato and Thyme Crespelle

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

Spinach Crespelle

Spinach combined with a creamy sauce, be it Béchamel, ricotta or a blue cheese sauce is a delicious filling for any kind of pasta. This combination doesn’t need a lot of additional spices besides salt, pepper and nutmeg. It’s one of those things that’s best kept simple. I love it in cannelloni or lasagna but I’m extremely fond of it in crespelle, thin Italian pancakes, wrapped around a tasty filling. You could also use a sauce Bolognese but that wouldn’t give the crespelle much space. Keep it pure and you can enjoy the eggy wrap complemented with a mild filling.

When I’m in Italy I have this meal with tomato sauce poured on top, it looks like the Italian flag, green, white and red. The man of the house asked for the green and white version, just some parmesan grated on top of the rolled crespelle before they bake in the oven for 15 minutes. They turn golden, partially crisp but the spinach and Béchamel mixture keeps it moist and juicy inside. You could also replace the spinach with chard, I do that sometimes, it’s similar to my Chard and Ricotta Lasagna.

Spinach Crespelle

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

For 4 filled crespelle you need

spinach, rinsed, without stems, 350g / 12.5 ounces
fresh parmesan, grated, 80g / 3 ounces

Cook the spinach in salted water for 1-2 minutes (the thick leaved spinach needs 2 minutes), rinse with cold water for a couple seconds and drain. Chopped roughly, season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.

 

For the Sauce Béchamel

milk 600ml
butter, melted, 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

Mix the milk with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk the flour into the hot butter. Bring the milk to the boil and whisk into the roux. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook for around 5 minutes on low heat until the texture is thick and smooth. Take the bay leaf out and season with salt and pepper.

 

For the crespelle

milk 160ml
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter for frying

Mix the ingredients well and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Heat some butter in a large pan and fry 4 thin crespelle one at a time, golden on both sides.

 

The filled crespelle

Set the oven to 200°C.

Lay a crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the spinach and 3 tablespoons of the Béchamel on top, roll into a wrap. Continue with the rest and put them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan (keep some cheese for the baked crespelle, I like to put some fresh cheese on when they come out of the oven). Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. You can also switch on the grill for 1-2 minutes, that makes it partially crisp.

Spinach Crespelle