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Baked Crêpes Cacciatore with Parmesan Cream Sauce

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I tend to toss cooking magazines, nowadays… I have subscribed to, read, saved, and otherwise consumed so many magazines over the years, I could star in an episode of Hoarders. I probably have 50 or so left – mainly La Cucina Italiana since they no longer publish – but there’s a few others that have made the cut, as well – like the April 2012 issue of Fine Cooking.

It’s a pretty good magazine and, unlike Bon Appetit, there’s always something I feel like making. Sometimes I take a while to get around to it, but that’s life, ya know?!?

The cacciatore crepes called out to me the first time I saw the recipe but that was about the time Nonna had moved in and things were in a bit of an uproar. And then another magazine arrives and another arrives, and the focus goes elsewhere.

I was culling the remaining magazines the other day – I really am trying to pare down – when I saw the recipe, again. This time, I knew I was making it.

We’ve really been in a rut around here. Nonna’s eating habits are a challenge, at times. She will zero in on something and want it all the time – and then, without notice, decide she no longer likes it. It definitely makes for some interesting mealtimes. The recipe as written had several things she’s no longer interested in – mushrooms, red peppers, and chili peppers, to name but three – but the basic concept was sound.

She likes manicotti and other stuffed pasta, so I figured I could work this into a meal she – and we – would like!

First thing I did was make the filling. I used tomatoes from the garden, as well as some cooked, shredded turkey that was in the freezer.

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Then it was time to make the crêpes. These use browned butter which adds a nice nuttiness to the dish. I don’t flip my crêpes when I make them – they cook through just fine.

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Then it was time for the sauce. Just heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Super easy.

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Putting it all together was a snap, as well. They were rolled and in the pan in no time, at all.

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And, finally, the finished product…

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They really did rock the casbah. Even Nonna ate two of them! The crêpes were light and delicate and the sauce added its crowning glory. I can see lots of variations on a theme, here!

Here’s the recipe as written at Fine Cooking. It looks long, but it really is easy. Just do it in steps.

Baked Crêpes Cacciatore with Parmesan Cream Sauce

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

For the filling:

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter; more softened for the baking dish
  • 8 oz. cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium (8 oz.) red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 1 large mild fresh green chile (such as Anaheim) cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 cups chopped leftover roast chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For assembly:

  • 12 8-inch crêpes, warmed if made ahead
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika (optional)

Make the filling:

In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil and the butter over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the mushrooms, season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release much of their liquid and begin to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and return the skillet to the heat.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the bell pepper, chile, onion, rosemary, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes; don’t let them brown.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for a minute or so, stirring and scraping so the flour gets mixed with the fat and starts to toast a bit. Add the broth and let it come to a simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and hot sauce; bring to a simmer again and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to slightly thicken the sauce.

Add the chicken and mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes until everything is heated through. Remove from the heat and season to taste with more salt, pepper, hot sauce, or lemon juice. Cover the filling and keep warm.

Make the cheese sauce:

In a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until the cream has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese, stirring until melted. Season generously with pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Assemble and bake the crêpes:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Working with a few crêpes at a time, lay them on a clean work surface. Spoon about 3 heaping Tbs. of the filling evenly onto the bottom third of each crêpe. Fold the bottom edge of each crêpe up and over the filling, fold the sides in toward the center, and finish rolling up from the bottom. Evenly arrange the crêpes seam side down in a single layer in the baking dish.

Spread the cheese sauce evenly over the crêpes and sprinkle with the paprika (if using). Bake until the sauce is golden and bubbling slightly, 12 to 16 minutes. Serve.

 

 

 

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