We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food
Having recently "ventured" off to Italy, I thought I'd see what kinds of pancakes are eaten there - and discovered the (apparent) age old question of what came first: the French crepe or the Italian crespelle. Italians claim that Caterina de Medici brought the Italian recipe for crespelle to France when she brought her cooks along in 1533 when married to King Henry II of France, and the French have claimed them as their own since.
Take a look at these beautiful scenes of Italy.
|Left, find Italy on a map - possibly the most recognizable country in the world! |
Right, Two canals in Venice. Isn't that stunning?
Photo Credit: MorBCN (CC-Adapted into collage)
Which is to say, crespelles are like crepes, but their fillings and how they're served can be distinctly Italian. They can be rolled, folded or stacked and they can be made with a sweet or savory filling. Savory fillings can be meat, cheese and/or vegetables. In the region of Abruzzo, they're called scripelle and eaten in a bowl of hot broth. We had savory crespelles with a ricotta & spinach filling, topped with marinara and it was a tasty, Italian dinner the whole family enjoyed.
Savory Italian Crespelles with Ricotta & Spinach
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- pinch of pepper
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 cup grated parmigiana, divided (and more for serving)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 19 fluid oz can of spiced, diced tomatoes*
- 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce*
*Or you can use 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce instead of these two ingredients.
1. Make the crespelle batter: Sift together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and crack all three eggs and the pepper in the well. Slowly whisk the flour into the eggs. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
2. While the batter is sitting, make the filling by chopping the spinach, then mixing it with the ricotta and 2/3 cup of parmigiana. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. If not buying marinara, combine the tomatoes and sauce together. Spread half the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
4. When the batter has rested, it's time to make the crespelles. On a hot pan, pour about 1/4 cup of batter per crepe. I always spread the batter on my pan with the back of a spatula to make sure it's a nice thin crepe. You should get 8 to 9 crespelles. Set them aside on a plate.
5. Preheat your oven to 375F. Assemble the crespelles by spreading 2 tbsp of filling over half of the crespelle. Fold in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Arrange the filled crespelles over the sauce in the pan. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the parmigiano. Bake for approximately 25min, or until it starts to bubble just a bit.
Serve hot, with more parmigiano on the side for those who really love it :)
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