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Spinach and ricotta crepes pockets in tomato and bechamel sauce – Bauletti

Spinach and ricotta crepes pockets in tomato and bechamel sauce – Bauletti

Crepes pockets stuffed with fresh ricotta and spinach, covered in tomato and bechamel sauce, straight into the oven. Do I really need to say anything else? Maybe I could try to explain you the real name of this mouthwatering dish, bauletti? 

Yes, I think I should at least introduce you this heavenly treat, because I am sure that not only non-Italians, but also many Italians don’t know this dish.

This is a real gem, more than a regional specialty, I could dare to say this a typical dish of my area only. If you come to San Benedetto del Tronto, you should pay a visit to the restaurant Rustichello, which, we say, invented bauletti and, from the 60s, keeps people happy with a few, chosen dishes and that’s all. Their recipes are pretty secret, so as you can imagine, I went there many times and try to guess, but that’s all. Yes, that was hard work, but somebody needed to do it, right?!

Anyway, the owners would never reveal to anyone their tricks, but I am more than satisfied with what I accomplished with my industrial espionage, so I feel ready to share my bauletti with you!  There is another great dish of this restaurant I will for sure post, because I love it, but no spoilers for now.   You can bet, all families of the area spend their Sunday lunches there since generations. If you don’t book in advance, you rarely will find a free spot. I don’t feel like I should talk more about it, because we need to dive into the method. This recipe is not difficult but requires some passages  (so I would spare it for a Sunday lunch or a special occasion).

Just a curiosity : Bauletti in Italian means “little trunk”,  as the crepe is folded to close and protect the filling, like a trunk protects its content.


Spinach and ricotta crepes pockets in tomato and bechamel sauce – Bauletti recipe

Ingredients (4 people –  a 9 x 12 inch ceramic baking dish)

For the crepes (around 11 crepes of 7 inches diameter)

2 eggs
10 fluid oz (300 ml) room temperature water
1 cup (150 gr.) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp (120 gr.) margarine or butter

For the bechamel (you can buy it, but if you feel like making it, here you are)

10 fluid oz (300 ml) whole, fresh milk, heated
1/8 cup (30 gr.) butter
1/4 cup (30 gr.)  all purpose flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
less than 1/4 tsp salt

For the  crepe filling:

18 oz (500 gr.) spinach
1 cup (200 gr) ricotta
1 egg
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the tomato sauce:

2 cups (500 ml) strained tomatoes – I use Pomì, Cirio, or Mutti
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt (or more, if you like it saltier)

 

Spinach and ricotta crepes pockets in tomato and bechamel sauce

 

Method

Let’s start preparing the batter for the crepes. Melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan at low heat. In a bowl, mix the egg with the water, and sift the flour little by little, always stirring to avoid lumps. Add the melted butter and let the mixture rest in the fridge, covered, for around half an hour. The batter should be a little foamy and not too dense.

 


In the meantime, in a large saucepan, let’s bring abundant water to a boil. After that, we should add a tbsp kosher salt and the spinach. Let boil for around 7/8 minutes, then drain and set aside.


While the spinach boils, you can already prepare the bechamel or the tomato sauce. As there is already quite a lot of work to do, you can choose to buy the bechamel. This time I defrosted and warmed a bit some bechamel I made some weeks ago, so it did not take me long.

Let’s assume you want to make it too. If not, you can skip to the next paragraph. In a heavy- bottomed saucepan, melt the butter at low heat and take off heat. Stir in the flour and whisk, to avoid lumps. Now transfer again on the stove, ad cook at low heat, stirring constantly until it becomes a golden bubbly, paste. At this point add, little by little, the milk you have previously heated. Keep stirring and whisking until the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg and the salt, stir well to incorporate, and have a taste. Adjust seasoning and take off heat. With these proportions and quantities, you will obtain 300 ml bechamel. (This is the quantity you need for this recipe, but I would never do less than 1 liter, storing the rest).
Before starting to prepare the crepes (half an hour should be passed by now), let’s quickly prepare our sauce.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. When it’s sizzling, add the chopped onion and stir until it becomes translucent. At this point, add the strained tomatoes and salt and let cook, for around 25 minutes, at low heat, stirring from time to time. Let’s leave our sauce bubbling…and prepare our crepes.
First of all, recuperate the batter from the fridge. Then heat a 7 inch non stick skillet and lightly coat the surface with butter. Now, add a ladleful of batter and swirl to cover the bottom of the skillet. Use your ladle as a measuring unit, fill it 2/3 approximately. You should obtain 10 or 11 thin, airy crepes. Cook for around a minute, until the underside of the crepe is golden, then loosen with a spatula and flip on the other side ( I use my fingers). Cook for another minute and slide out of the skillet. Repeat with the rest of the batter. You can pile your crepes without using parchment paper, they will easily separate.
Ok, good. We are almost there. Now you should remove tomato sauce from heat (if you haven’t done it yet). Let it cool for some minutes, then add bechamel and stir to blend.
Don’t forget the poor spinach as well : mix it with an egg, the ricotta and the nutmeg to prepare the filling. Let’s assemble everything now!

Spoon some filling on your crepes  and fold them, one by one, to form the little “trunks”. Look below:

 
  

Spoon a small part of the tomato sauce and bechamel to cover the base of the ceramic baking dish and start arranging the crepes on the surface. Once you have arranged all crepes, cover everything with sauce like it’s the Niagara Falls.

Bake at 180C/350 F for around 30 minutes.

You might be a little tired now, but the smell that will soon start coming out of the oven will totally repay you. Have a little glass of wine while you wait for it to be ready and prepare yourself to be very, very satisfied!

Little tips:

You can make the crepes one day in advance and then the day after all the rest. Just  remember to put them in the fridge, covered.  Cooked tomato sauce too can be prepared the day before and stored in the fridge!

Let me know how it goes if you try to make it,  and subscribe to my blog for more recipes if you liked this one 🙂

Spinach and ricotta crepes pockets in tomato and bechamel sauce - Bauletti recipe

2017-05-03
: 4
: 2 hr
: 30 min
: 2 hr 30 min
: medium

Spinach and ricotta stuffed crepes pockets, covered in tomato and bechamel sauce, straight in the oven for maximum pleasure! Their Italian name is bauletti and if you try them once, you'll never forget.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the crepes (around 11 crepes of 7 inches diameter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 fluid oz (300 ml) room temperature water
  • 1 cup (150 gr.) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (120 gr.) margarine or butter
  • For the bechamel
  • 10 fluid oz (300 ml) whole, fresh milk, heated
  • 1/8 cup (30 gr.) butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 gr.) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • less than 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the crepe filling:
  • 18 oz (500 gr.) spinach
  • 1 cup (200 gr) ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 2 cups (500 ml) strained tomatoes - I use Pomì, Cirio, or Mutti
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp salt (or more, if you like it saltier)
Directions
  • Step 1 For the crepe batter: melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan at low heat.
  • Step 2 In a bowl, mix the egg with the water, and sift the flour little by little, always stirring to avoid lumps.
  • Step 3 Add the melted butter and let the mixture rest in the fridge, covered, for around half an hour.
  • Step 4 In the meantime, in a large saucepan, let’s bring abundant water to a boil.
  • Step 5 Add a tbsp kosher salt and the spinach, let boil for around 7/8 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  • Step 6 Prepare the bechamel. In a heavy- bottomed saucepan, melt the butter at low heat and take off heat.
  • Step 7 Stir in the flour and whisk, to avoid lumps.
  • Step 8 Transfer again on the stove, ad cook at low heat, stirring constantly until it becomes a golden bubbly, paste.
  • Step 9 Add, little by little, the milk you have previously heated.
  • Step 10 Keep stirring and whisking until the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg and the salt, stir well to incorporate, adjust seasoning and take off heat.
  • Step 11 Prepare the tomato sauce. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
  • Step 12 When it’s sizzling, add the onion and stir until it becomes translucent.
  • Step 13 Add the strained tomatoes and salt and let cook, for around 25 minutes, at low heat, stirring from time to time.
  • Step 14 Recuperate the batter from the fridge, then heat a 7 inch non stick skillet and lightly coat the surface with butter.
  • Step 15 Add a ladleful of batter and swirl to cover the bottom of the skillet.
  • Step 16 Cook for around a minute, until the underside of the crepe is golden, then loosen with a spatula and flip on the other side.
  • Step 17 Cook for another minute and slide out of the skillet. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  • Step 18 Remove tomato sauce from heat, if you haven’t done it yet.
  • Step 19 Let it cool for some minutes, then add bechamel and stir to blend.
  • Step 20 Mix the spinach with an egg, the ricotta and the nutmeg to prepare the filling.
  • Step 21 Spoon some filling on your crepes and fold them, one by one, to form the little “trunks”.
  • Step 22 Spoon some sauce on the base of the ceramic dish and arrange your crepes on it.
  • Step 23 Cover all in tomato and bechamel sauce.
  • Step 24 Bake for around 30 minutes at 350F.

 



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