200 Year Old Family Recipe for Manicotti

My daughter’s class had a multicultural celebration recently where each kid interviewed a relative about a recipe that’s been handed down in the family.  My daughter interviewed my Mom about her manicotti recipe. Here’s part of what she learned:

image“Manicotti is from Italy, and it’s been in my family since 1810.  It was passed down from my great great-grandma De Luca to my grandmother in 1962 (after she got married).  It was a very popular recipe in the village in Italy that my relatives came from.  Can you believe that after all these years my grandmother never changed it?

It came from Naples, Italy and it is a common recipe for Italian Americans.  My family eats it for Christmas every year. The recipe is great!  Here it is…”

Manicotti: Great Great Grandma De Luca’s Recipe


Homemade Tomato Sauce

Crepe Ingredients (Makes 20)

2 cups Flour
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 3/4 cup Water +
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar
1 T. Oil

Ingredients for Cheese Filling

2 lbs. Ricotta Cheese
8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese (cut into 1/3 inch cubes)
2 Eggs
1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese
Salt and Pepper


image1. Have your favorite tomato sauce made in advance.

2. Crepe Recipe (Makes 20-24 crepes)

imageMix flour, milk, eggs, water, salt, sugar and oil in a large bowl with electric mixer or whisk. The batter should be mixed well. It should be a light batter.

If the first crepe is too heavy add more water to the batter (only a little at a time).

You will need a small frying pan 5 or 6 inches in diameter. Use butter or margarine to grease frying pan. Before making each crepe, swipe the stick of butter over the frying pan and then start again. The stovetop should be on medium heat. Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each crepe. Cook crepes on each side until firm.

imageCut up paper towels into 2 inch wide strips and put between crepes so they don’t stick together. Crepes can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or overnight.

If you do refrigerate them, let them warm up to room temperature before taking apart the stack of crepes.

imageimage3. Mix the ingredients for the cheese filling.  (There’s Mom helping me make the manicotti!)

image4. Cover the bottom of a 9 by 12″ pan with sauce.

image5.  Put about a tablespoon of cheese filling into each crepe.

image6.  Fold over two sides of crepe over the cheese filling so it’s like a log.

image7.Place all the filled crepes in a row in the pan. Then put a layer of sauce over top of all the crepes. You should be able to fit 8-10 crepes in the pan.

image8.  Bake at 350 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until hot.

Buon appetito!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012 at 5:17 pm and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Recipes, Countries & Cultures, Cuisine, Food Memories, Holiday Recipes, Holidays Around the World, Italian, Italian American Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Italy, Languages, Main Course, Mama Lisa, Manicotti Recipe, Parenting, Recipes of the World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

37 Responses to “200 Year Old Family Recipe for Manicotti”

  1. Carolyn Scaturro Says:

    I just made the manicotti yesterday, and they melted in your mouth and was so delicious. This was my first time making them, easy, and the best ever.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing that Carolyn!

  3. Kevin Says:

    My church is having a bicentennial celebration in Oct. I’ve been looking for authentic 200 year old recipes. I may give this a try.

    Thanks so much,

  4. Lisa Says:

    You’re welcome Kevin!

  5. Emelia Says:

    I’m so excited to make these! My mother-in-law is from Italy and I’ve been searching for a great recipe I can make when she comes to visit, I know she’ll love these :) thanks so much!

  6. Carol Says:

    I noted your photo for manicotti and thought it looked exactly like the ones my mom and I used to make (Italian decent, of course). Sure enough ours were made the same way, with subtle differences. I brushed the pan with a little olive oil instead of butter. I cooked the “shell” just until top looked dry, not browned. When putting them together, I would spread the ricotta cheese with the back of a spoon to a half inch from the edge. I would do this to a whole bunch spread out on a large table or counter. Then I go back and roll them up loosely like Enchalatas. It goes faster that way and the ricotta stays in better. Other than that, its exactly the same.
    It’s the first time I ever saw anyone else make “the real thing.” Brings back good memories of home.

  7. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing Carol! Mangia!

  8. Grams Says:

    Looks good ..will make the crepes

  9. Vivi Says:

    Can I make the filling also from the night before and assemble the next day?

  10. Lisa Says:

    Hi Vivi – I think that would be fine.

    Enjoy! Mama Lisa

  11. Karen Says:

    So glad I found this recipe. Love it!

  12. Mary Says:

    I made this, my first time. Absolutely delicious. I am wondering, can you make the crepes in advance and freeze them.

  13. Lisa Says:

    I checked with my sister (who makes them for Christmas every year) if the crepes freeze well. She wrote:

    “They don’t freeze so well. They will crack, and maybe crumble. I usually make them the same day I fill them. It’s easier to use them fresh.

    You can make them a few days ahead, but you have to refrigerate them. If you’re going to do that, make sure you bring them to room temperature first. It’s still easier to fill them fresh. They tend to stick together. They rip and crack.

    You can make the filling the day before. Make the crepes the next day and fill them fresh, and bake them the day after (when you’re going to eat them.”

  14. Sandra Says:

    My now ex mother in law use to make these every Sunday for dinner, huge meal with a roast beef or meatloaf, mac and cheese, kielbasa with sauerkraut and a least four sides. She never shared her recipes and these were my favorite part of the meal. I’ve searched for a recipe and never found one as she called them a different name.

    The only thing she did different was that she would put the filling in the middle of the crepe and fold each side in like a envelope. She was an amazing cook and no she wasn’t Italian. I am going to attempt to make these…it will be my first time making crepes.

  15. Melinda Says:

    I make these very year for Easter. I make them ahead of time and freeze them. They freeze beautify. I take them out and let them defrost before I cook them. So good!! Same recipe as my grandmother’s. Thank you!

  16. Jan Says:

    These crepes are absolutely melt in your mouth yummy. I have an old old recipe I’ve used for over 20 years and was happy to see your recipe! Such an easy recipe,yet people think it takes a master chef to make “real manicotti” 😂

  17. Cindy Says:

    My MIL Grace Delucias exact recipe and her fathers family were from Naples area! On a side note these freeze well after they are made.

  18. Ruth Lukes Says:

    Just wondering if your mom could share her recipe for her tomato sauce? The recipe sounds delicious!

  19. Marie Christopher Says:

    Cannot wait to make from complete scratch…used store-bought noodles for Manicotti before. Have you ever made Italian eggs…pepperoni, ricotta and eggs…my Mom’s recipe…so good.

  20. Lisa Says:

    Hi Marie, I never made that! It sounds good! Would you like to share your recipe? Best, Lisa

  21. Angela Says:

    Wish the egg recipe was posted? Also, need recipe for the tomato sauce. Surely, not just a can of plain old sauce!! Or do you use marinara sauce? Thanks

  22. Lori S Moritz Says:

    My Grandmother used to make manicotti, and I have been looking for her recipe for years!!! Thanks to you my search is over!!! I made this manicotti recipe over the weekend, and it turned out perfectly! Every bite melted in your mouth, just like my grandmother’s!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, and bringing back a dish I thought would only remain a memory!!!

  23. Tina Bonitatis Says:

    This recipe sounded so much like the one I have been using for years. I don’t even remember where I got it. Not from my mother or grandmother. Mines calls for 2 cups flour, 2 cups milk 1 tsp. salt 4 eggs slightly beaten 2 Tblsp. brandy (optional) but I usually use it if I have it. I make this for Christmas and Easter and double the recipe. Once made the manicotti can be frozen on a cookie sheet than when frozen can be put into a plastic freezer bag for another meal. The filling recipe is the same except I also put in parsley, fresh or dried. Thanks, it’s nice to see this recipe. My family loves it.

  24. Karen Stevens Says:

    What could one substitute for the ricotta cheese?not a fan.
    I use small curd cottage cheese in my lasagna and it’s real good.

  25. trisha Says:

    How many crepes does this recipe make?

  26. Nan Perkins Says:

    I would like to know how many this serves and would love your sauce recipe! I’d like to make it Christmas!

  27. Lisa Says:

    This recipe makes 20 crepes.

    I improvise my sauce and often use canned tomato sauce plus a can of whole tomatoes in their juices… it’s something like this (sorry I never measured). I also make huge pots that I can get a lot of meals out of:

    3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
    2 large onions (finely chopped)
    3-4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
    3 (28-ounce) cans tomato sauce
    1 (28-ounce) can whole or chopped tomatoes
    2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
    2 t. dried parsley
    1/4 teaspoon dried basil (don’t overdo the basil)
    2 t. garlic powder
    2 t. onion powder
    1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (kosher or coarse)
    Fresh black pepper (to taste)
    1 T. Beef Bouillon (optional)
    1/2 c.+ Red Wine (Optional)

    1. Fry onions and garlic in olive oil till soft.
    2. Add whole tomatoes and break up the tomates with a flat wooden spoon.
    3. Add tomato sauce and spices and stir. Add more spices to taste if needed.
    4. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

    If the sauce if too tart you can add a little baking soda or sugar to tone it down.

    I usually make meatballs that I cook in the oven and then add them to the sauce for the last half hour or so. It helps flavor the sauce. My mother used to put the raw meatballs into the sauce and cooked them that way. If you cook them in the oven first you can get rid of a lot of the grease.

  28. Doug Says:

    I made this recipe tonight it was fantastic very easy. I had extra cheese ravioli filling from easter ravioli making and used it for the filling Turned out great. Thanks for the recipe.

  29. Roxanne Porterfield Says:

    I have my father’s recipe we grew up with that is much like this. I still make it today and impress friends and guests!

  30. Joseph Acri Says:

    Your recipe was excellent and I appreciate your love in sharing this very special gift, this shows how special of a person you are, thank you again for your special family recipe!!!!😊

  31. Debbie Herot Says:

    If I’m short of time, could I use flour tortillas instead of the homemade crepes?

  32. Lisa Says:

    I think tortillas would give it a different taste. Manicotti crepes are very smooth and soft in comparison. -Lisa

    PS I believe you could make the crepes in advance though. Just separate them with a strip of wax paper so they don’t stick together.

  33. J Notte Says:

    I made these with a few extra ingredients and used my sunday gravy as the sauce! OMG these melt in your mouth and even better the next day. Thank you so much, this is now my new family dinner go to when my children come with their spouses.

  34. Kelly Ann DeFio Says:

    Pretty much exactly the way my mom makes.. one of my absolute faves! Never asked why crepes vs pasta, but have had pasta kind before and crepe version is definitely better, although pasta kind were very good also. I’m guessing crepes are traditional? Although preferred, most dinner guests believe it’s not authentic.. I don’t even know???? Any informational would be much appreciated. Btw, I’m asking you because I know your recipes are the “real deal” TY!!

  35. Karen Says:

    I have used this recipe many, many times and we love it@

  36. Jovanna Says:

    This recipe made perfect crepes! Other recipes seemed to incorporate too many eggs. Your recipe made the most sense and am so glad I went with it! Was planning on making them for Thanksgiving and did a trial run of your recipe a few weeks before which turned out to be the best Manicotti I’ve ever had. For Thanksgiving I doubled the recipe and added some fresh chopped parsley and cooked crumbled Italian sausage to your stuffing recipe. So delicious and light! Don’t waste time with other recipes just go with this one! Thank you for sharing your family’s 200 year old traditional recipe!

  37. Lena Soldano Says:

    The recipe & Sauce Recipe looks great! Do you have an old fashioned recipe for meatballs?
    I remember walking into my Aunt Natalie’s house in Long Island & the aroma was Absolutely Wonderful! Made your mouth water & her meatballs were huge!

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