When In Rome
1108 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Here's a great recipe for manicotti: from eggs, flour, water, and salt prepare a thin batter for crepes. Heat a crepe pan, pour as little batter as possible so the crepes will be thin. When the edges of the pancake curl, flip the pan and place crepe on towel. Repeat until you have 12 to 25 crepes. Clean and wash fresh spinach, dip in hot water, rinse. Purée half of the spinach; chop the other half. Add ricotta cheese and nutmeg to spinach (both puréed and chopped) and fill crepes with mixture. Top with a marinara sauce plus a béchamel (white sauce). The béchamel is key -- an all-red sauce is too acidic. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, until sauce bubbles. If you find this too much work, it's all done for you by the owner of When In Rome. If you want to buy manicotti portions to take home, they keep well, frozen, up to two weeks. After that the flavor is still intact, but the ricotta cheese tends to become slightly watery.