Packed with a rich ricotta and spinach filling and finished with a crisp layer of golden cheese, these pancakes are perfect for sharing.
Italian crespelle pancakes are similar to enchiladas as they’re served hot in a big baking dish. Crespelle are paper-thin pancakes, the Italian equivalent of France’s crêpes, and just like the French version, they can be served either sweet or savory. Crespelle with spinach and ricotta are sometimes called ‘Panzerotti’. This recipe serves eight and takes just 15 minutes to prepare.
- For the pancakes:
- 75g/3oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 200ml/7floz milk
- a little oil for frying
- For the filling:
- 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 350g/12oz fresh leaf spinach, washed
- 1 (250g) tub ricotta cheese
- 50g/2oz finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2.5ml/1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 (345g) jar ready made tomato pasta sauce
To make the pancakes: Place the flour, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, add half the milk and whisk well until the mixture is lump-free. Add the remaining milk and whisk again until smooth. Pour into a jug.
Heat a 20cm/8in diameter non-stick frying pan until hot, drizzle a little oil over the center and wipe around the pan with a piece of kitchen paper. Pour a little of the batter into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly over the base of the pan. Cook for 2mins or until the top is set and the base golden. Flip over using a spatula and cook for a further 1-2mins or until the base is golden. Make another 7 pancakes in the same way and set them aside.
To make the filling: Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the onion and sauté until soft – about 4mins. Add the garlic, then spinach, and squash down into the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 4mins or until the leaves are wilted
Tip the spinach into a sieve and press out the excess liquid. Tip into a bowl and mix in the ricotta, half the Parmesan, nutmeg and plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Lay the pancakes out on the work surface and divide the filling between them spooning it down the middle of each. Fold the sides over the filling, then roll up the pancakes. Place seam side down in an ovenproof dish.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Spoon the sauce over the top of the pancakes, spooning it in a line down the centre of the pancakes. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20mins or until piping hot and crisp.
Top tips for making Italian crespelle pancakes
Feel free to add some meat to this recipe. You can use ready-cooked chicken, strips of beef or even a small portion of leftover spaghetti Bolognese.