Crêpes or scrippelle are a big part of the menu in Le Marche, as a garnish in soups, filled with grated cheese, or used like pasta, as they are in this delicious casserole. In fact, if you are reluctant to make your own fresh pasta, this might be a first step. The scrippelle are easy to make and can be fried in advance, then sliced into ribbons for the recipe for the scrippelle.
- For the scrippelle:
- 6 large eggs
- 1⅓ cups cold water
- ¼ cup (loosely packed) fresh marjoram or basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- extra-virgin olive oil for the crêpe pan
- For the sauce and casserole:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking pan
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup freshly grated pecorino (or half pecorino and half Grana Padano, for a milder flavor)
You will need a heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet or cast-iron crêpe pan, 10-inch diameter; a heavy saucepan, 10 inches wide, with a 3-to- 4- quart capacity; a large oval baking dish or shallow casserole with a 3-quart capacity. To make the scrippelle: Whisk together the eggs, the water, chopped herbs, flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well blended.
Brush the skillet with olive oil. Set over medium-high heat, and cook until hot but not smoking. Ladle a level ⅓ cup of the batter into the pan, then quickly tilt and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Let cook about 1 minute, until the batter is set all over and the bottom is browned, then flip with a spatula and cook another minute, until the second side is well browned. Drop the crêpe out of the pan onto a dinner plate. Cook all the scrippelle in the same way, piling them up when done. If they stick or the pan seems dry, brush with more oil. You should get about 10 scrippelle.
When you’re ready to assemble and bake the dish, heat the oven to 425º and arrange a rack in the middle.
For the sauce: Pour the olive oil into the saucepan, and set it over medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion, and cook until wilted, about 4 or 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine, and boil for a minute or two, to reduce the alcohol. Meanwhile, stir the tomato paste in 1½ cups hot water until dissolved. Pour the tomato water into the pan, and stir in the lemon zest and salt. Simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
To make the scrippelle ribbons, roll up each scrippella and slice it crosswise into ½-inch- thick spirals. Unfurl these into strips, resembling fettuccine, and heap them in a large bowl. Sprinkle half of the grated cheese on the ribbons, and toss well.
Brush the baking dish with a thin film of olive oil. Spread about a quarter of the sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Spread a third of the ribbons loosely in the dish, and sprinkle over them a couple tablespoons of the remaining cheese. Create two more layers the same way, distributing sauce, ribbons, and grated cheese evenly in the dish, reserving the last quarter of sauce to drizzle over the top.
Take care not to compress the scrippelle strips, so the casserole remains light and airy. Bake, uncovered, until the top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.