Around the world in 80 dishes No. 42: Baked filled savoury pancakes

Ingredients to serve 4
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250g plain flour
4 eggs
500ml milk
40g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing and dotting
20g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt
Gennaro's tomato sauce (see below)

For the filling

300g ricotta
100g rocket, finely chopped, plus some unchopped for garnishing
50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper

Method

Crespelle are the Italian equivalent of pancakes. The pancake itself is made in the same way as an English one, but they are then filled with a savoury mixture and baked and served with tomato sauce. Simple to prepare, they make a different and nutritious meal. I have opted for a ricotta and rocket filling, but you can make any filling you like – try spinach, mixed vegetables, mushrooms or even make them sweet for dessert.

Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl, add the eggs and stir. Gradually whisk in the milk, ensuring no lumps are formed, until you obtain a smooth runny batter, then stir in the melted butter.

Place the frying pan on the heat, grease with a little butter, then add a ladleful of the mixture in the centre of the pan. Swirl the pan around so that the mixture runs to all sides. Fry until the bottom is golden, then flip over to cook on the other side. Remove and set aside. Continue to do this until your mixture has finished – you should be able to make 8 pancakes.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients, mixing well. Spread some of the filling on to each pancake, then fold each one in half and half again, ending up with a triangle.

Place on a greased ovenproof dish so that they slightly overlap each other, dot with knobs of butter and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and top with a spoonful of tomato sauce (below) on each pancake. Garnish with some rocket and serve.

To make the tomato sauce

Gently sweat half a finely chopped onion in two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat. Add a 410g tin of tomatoes and a handful of basil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes.

Taken from 'Gennaro's Easy Italian' by Gennaro Contaldo (Headline, £16.99).

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