Savory Crêpes Are The Star Of This Lasagna

Lasagna is the perfect dish to feed a crowd. It can feature everything from cheeses to meats to vegetables, and often the leftovers taste even better than the meal on the first day.

Lasagna typically is made with long sheets of pasta, but “Lasagne di Crespelle” from “Nick Stellino’s Family Kitchen” (G.P Putnam’s Sons) utilizes thin crêpes as the pasta in this dish. Also, a mix of both meat and béchamel sauces create a depth of flavor that can be a welcome surprise.

Lasagne di Crespelle
(Crêpe Lasagna)
Serves 6 generously

2 recipes Savory Crêpes (see below)
6 cups meat sauce
3 cups béchamel sauce
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare the crêpes, meat sauce and béchamel sauce. Fold the nutmeg into the béchamel sauce.

Lightly grease a lasagna pan with olive oil, and pour in 1 cup of the meat sauce. Top with a layer of crêpes and spread with a thin layer of the béchamel sauce (about 1⁄4 cup), then sprinkle with grated cheese and top with another layer of crêpes and a thin layer of meat sauce. Repeat layering to the top of the pan, making plenty of layers; keep each layer thin. Finish with a layer of crêpes and béchamel sauce, and sprinkle with the grated cheese and parsley.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until light brown and bubbly.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Savory Crêpes
Makes 14 to 16, 8-inch crêpes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water
1⁄2 cup cold milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Measure flour, 3⁄4 cup water, milk, eggs, butter, and salt into a blender or mixing bowl. Blend or whisk until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes. When ready to cook the crêpes, add the remaining cold water to thin the batter to the consistency of heavy cream.

Heat a very seasoned skillet or a 10-inch nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat and add a few drops of olive oil. Lift the pan from the heat and ladle about 1⁄4 cup of the batter into the center. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions so the batter forms a thin, lacy pancake.

Cook the crêpe for 30 to 40 seconds, until the edges curl and brown slightly. Flip the crêpe with a flexible heat-resistant spatula or nimble fingers, and cook the other side for about 15 seconds, until spotted with brown and dry. Remove from the pan. Stack the cooked crêpes on top of each other to keep them warm.

If the batter becomes thick toward the bottom of the bowl and the cooked crêpes do not have tiny lacy bubbles around the outside rim, add a teaspoon of water to the batter, mix, and continue cooking.

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