Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crab and Ricotta Cannelloni

This is by far one of my favorite Lenten dishes.  That said, the crab means that it's a meal for special occasions.  In other words, when someone's coming for dinner!  This time around, I made it for our Ash Wednesday dinner while my mama was visiting from the East Coast.  And the bonus?  Fabulous leftovers, that got my husband through a meatless Lenten Friday while Mama and I made a weekend trip to San Diego with the baby!  Talk about some elegant leftovers, huh?

For the pasta:
1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Bechamel Sauce

For the sauce:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups half-and-half, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg yolk, basil, crab, salt, and pepper.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool and then cover and refrigerate.

Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered baking dish. Top the filled cannelloni with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada deLaurentiis.


  1. This looks so good! I'm a new follower and want to invite you to stop by my brand new blog and follow me too! Thanks :)

  2. I can sure see why this would be a favorite, it would be one of mine and I can't wait to it. I just love the Crab and Ricotta combination. Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen