Crespelle con gli Asparagi

Crepes with Asparagus

Unlike the folded crepes in the preceding recipes for fazzoletti, here the wrappers are rolled up to resemble cannelloni. There is a family resemblance between these and the cannelloni with asparagus and ham. The technique of spreading the filling over the whole surface of the wrapper rather than bunching it in the center is the same. Similar also is the way the asparagus is prepared for the filling, a basic procedure equally applicable to other vegetable stuffings such as green bean or zucchini. A significant difference between this stuffing and that of the cannelloni is that this one is a wholly vegetarian composition.

Ingredients

For the crepes

  • 1 cup milk
  • Âľ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • â…› teaspoon salt
  • About, 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 1½ pounds medium-size asparagus
  • Salt

For the béchamel

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ÂĽ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for dotting the finished dish
  • 3 ounces Emmenthal cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan)
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • A rectangular oven-to-table baking dish

Method

  1. Make the crepes: Put the milk in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, shaking it through a strainer. Beat with a fork or whisk until the milk and flour are smoothly amalgamated.
  2. Break both eggs into the bowl and add the salt. Beat with the fork or whisk until the eggs are thoroughly blended with the flour and milk mixture.
  3. Put ½ teaspoon of the butter in the skillet and turn on the heat to medium low. Melt the butter without letting it become colored, tilting and rotating the pan to coat the bottom evenly.
  4. The moment the butter is fully melted, stir the crepe batter and pour 2 tablespoons of it into the center of the pan. Immediately lift the pan above and away from the burner and tip it, in a seesaw motion, in several directions until the batter has spread evenly.
  5. Return the pan to the burner and cook until the batter has set. Lift a corner of the crepe to see if its underside has become colored a light, creamy brown. When it has, turn it over with a spatula. When the other side becomes lightly colored, transfer the crepe to a platter.
  6. Finish making the crepes, repeating the above operation and adding a small amount of butter, less than ½ teaspoon, to the pan each time before putting in the batter for the next crepe.
  7. Trim and peel the asparagus as directed.
  8. In a deep sauté pan that can later accommodate all the asparagus lying flat, bring water to a boil. Add a liberal quantity of salt and the asparagus. Cover the pan and, after the water returns to a boil, cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes, depending on their freshness and thickness. They should be somewhat underdone, because they will undergo additional cooking later. The stalks should be firm, not limp, yet not so hard that they are difficult to pierce with a fork.
  9. Drain the asparagus and set aside to cool.
  10. Prepare the béchamel sauce as directed, using the proportions listed above.
  11. Pick out as many asparagus stalks as you have crepes. From these trim the bottoms so that the stalks are approximately as long or slightly longer than the diameter of the crepes.
  12. Cut up the other asparagus, adding the pieces trimmed from the bottom of the stalks you’ve set aside.
  13. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan, turn on the heat to medium high, and, when the butter foam begins to subside, put in the cut-up asparagus. Sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl of a food processor or blender and add the Emmenthal cheese. Chop briefly, just long enough to cut the ingredients very fine, but not so long that they are pureed.
  15. Put the chopped asparagus and cheese in a bowl, adding 1⅓ cups of the béchamel sauce and the grated Parmesan. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Taste and correct for salt and add a few grindings of pepper.
  16. Turn on the oven to 400°.
  17. Take a platter larger than the crepes and spread 1 tablespoon of the béchamel sauce on the bottom. Place a crepe in the platter and slide it around lightly, using the palm of your hand, so that its underside is coated with béchamel.
  18. Spread approximately 1½ tablespoons of the chopped asparagus and cheese mixture over the crepe.
  19. At the center of the crepe place one of the whole asparagus stalks set aside earlier.
  20. Fold the crepe very loosely, jelly-roll fashion, trapping the asparagus stalk in its folds.
  21. Place the crepe in the baking dish. As you roll up more crepes and put them in the dish, arrange them so that the asparagus tips all line up in the same direction and the end of the crepe with a tip rests on the bottom of the crepe ahead of it.
  22. Spread the remaining béchamel sauce over the crepes and dot with the 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake in the uppermost level of the oven for about 15 minutes, until a pale golden crust forms.
  23. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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