Makes 6 to 8 servings
Anelli is Italian for “rings.” These crespelle will have a rich dairy taste thanks to the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and melted butter. Enjoy them with medium-bodied dry white to cut through that velvety texture with some green fruit acidity. The dish will also be at home with a lighter red that will provide red currant flavors and celebrate the glories of the dairy.
- 2/3 cup all-purpose or “00” flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Unsalted butter, as needed to cook crespelle
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves (8 oz)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus as needed
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 1 cup ricotta (8 oz)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano (2 oz)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, as needed
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- To make the crespelle, lift the flour into a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix them into the flour using a whisk. Add the milk and mix until evenly blended and smooth, but do not overmix the batter. Strain it through a wire-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and let the batter rest for up to 30 minutes.
- Heat a 10-inch nonstick sauté pan or crêpe pan. Add a little butter and let it melt. With one hand, grasp the handle of the pan so that you can lift the pan up and tilt it as you pour the batter over the surface with the other hand. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter for each crespella.
- Return the pan to the heat and let the crespella cook undisturbed for about 40 seconds. Check the underside; it should be set but not browned. Turn the crespella with a long metal spatula and let it cook on the second side until just cooked, 10 to 20 seconds longer. Transfer the finished crespella to a plate. Continue until all of the batter is used; you should have at least 8 crespelle. (If you are making the crespelle ahead of time or if you make more crespelle than you need for this recipe, they can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
- To make the filling, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spinach all at once and stir to submerge the leaves. Cook uncovered until tender and a deep color, 3 to 4 minutes. Lift the greens out of the water with a sieve or slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. After the greens are chilled, drain in a colander for several minutes and then squeeze them with your hands to remove as much water as you can. Use a chef’s knife to finely chop the spinach.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and, when it has melted, add the shallot. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook over low heat until the shallot is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until any moisture remaining in the spinach has cooked away. Transfer the spinach to a bowl and let it cool. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and egg yolk to the cooled spinach and stir to blend evenly.
- Brush a baking dish or casserole with some of the melted butter. To fill the anelli, spoon or pipe about 1/4 cup of the filling mixture down the center of each crespella and roll the crespella around the filling, making the rolls tight enough to hold together. Slice each filled crespella crosswise into 1-inch pieces and set them into the baking dish with a cut side facing down (it should look like a ring of crespelle around the green filling). Once all of the anelli are arranged in the baking dish, brush them lightly with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. (You may bake the dish now, or cover the pan and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the anelli are very hot and the cheese has formed a golden crust, 10 to 15 minutes