This is one of those recipes that, although not really that difficult to execute, is reserved for special family events and holidays. I like my manicotti loaded with cheese filling. While maybe a little messy to eat, it's so delicioso!
Swap option: Use store-bought manicotti shells to speed things up. You can also use this filling for stuffed shells.
For the shells:1.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Drizzle the water in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. Add the flour and salt and whisk vigorously until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.2.
Make the manicotti shells. Whisk the batter to incorporate any sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Heat a 6-inch non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add a very scant 1/4 cup (about 2½ tablespoons) of the batter to the pan and swirl the skillet to create a "crepe." Keep swirling until the batter is set.3.
Place the skillet over the flame and cook for 5-10 seconds, until set. Use an offset spatula to lift the edge from the pan, then grab the shell with both hands (carefully — it's hot!) and gently flip. Cook the other side for 5-10 seconds. Shimmy the skillet back and forth until the crepe begins to slide in the pan. Slide the cooked crepe to a plate. Repeat, creating a total of 10 shells.4.
Allow the shells to cool for 10-15 minutes.
For the filling:1.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spread half of the sauce onto the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish.2.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, eggs, pecorino, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before transferring to a piping bag.3.
Working one shell at a time, pipe a generous line of the filling across the diameter. Fold one side of the shell over the filling and roll to conceal the filling and make a tube. Place the tube, seam-side down, long ways, into the prepared casserole dish. You should be able to fit 5 manicotti per row.4.
Top the manicotti with the remaining sauce and bake until the sauce begins to bubble along the edges of the casserole dish, for 30-40 minutes. Allow the manicotti to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.