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Kim's Family's Manicotti

Courtesy S.Pellegrino
Cook Time:
1 hr 45 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
One 9x13-inch baking dish

Chef notes

To honor her friends' traditions at Thanksgiving, "Top Chef" winner and restaurateur Kristen Kish made their families' favorite recipes. This homemade manicotti from Kim Bacari's grandmother is savory, rich and comforting for any holiday meal. 

Technique tip: If you have a few extra crepes that don’t fit into the pan, they are great warmed up with lemon juice and sugar.


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • cups water, plus more if needed
  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 1½ to 2 cups or more, to taste, grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For serving
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • fresh basil, torn roughly


For the crepes: 


In a large bowl, combine flour, eggs and water, and mix together until you reach a thin crepe-batter consistency. Add more water if needed.


Using a lightly greased 8-inch crepe skillet or non-stick pan, pour 1/4 cup batter into the center of the pan, spreading it around the pan by tilting the pan in a circular motion in order to make thin crepes. Flip crepe when bottom side is dry and the edges of the crepe are starting to release from the pan. Cook on opposite side for 15 to 20 seconds longer. Once cooked, set aside and layer the completed crepes with parchment paper. You should have approximately 16 to 17 crepes.

For the filling:


In a large bowl, combine the whole milk ricotta, mascarpone cheese and lots of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese. Add salt, to taste.

For the sauce:


Pulse tomatoes and their juice in a food processor. Pulse longer for a thin consistency (Kim’s preference), or for a shorter time for a chunkier consistency (Kristen’s method).


In a large pot, heat the canola oil and brown the garlic. Add your pulsed tomatoes, water and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 40 minutes, taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

To assemble and serve:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, add a heavy layer of red sauce into the bottom. Fill the crepes with about 3 tablespoons of cheese filling each, and roll up to close. Add the rolled crepes into the baking dish in a single layer. Spoon rest of sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Top with more grated cheese, and torn basil to serve.