Crab Manicotti/Cannelloni

by Shawnda on October 23, 2008

in Freezer Friendly,Pasta, Rice, and Grains,Seafood

Crab manicotti

After going for what seemed like forever without Food Network and Comedy Central, the guys from Comcast showed up on time, tracked dirt all over my clean floors, and flipped whatever switch they flip. I was so excited.

Food Network. In HD. Really excited. As in, I sat there and watched Sandra Lee in all her matchy-matchyness excited. Tyler, Aunt Sandy, Giada, my hero Ina… I am in heaven. (Or will be as soon as I can get me some Bobby Flay!)

I’m a background TV kind of person. I might not be watching that football game directly, but don’t think I won’t notice in a flash if you switch over to the Xbox to play Grid or Gears of War. (Honey.) When I work at home, the TV is on. What’s on? Doesn’t matter. I grew up the oldest of 4 children in a house where all the kids in the neighborhood hung out. A quiet, peaceful house creeps me out.

The renewed access to all-food all-day inspired me to grab some of my less-used cookbooks from the shelf and flip through them. We immediately settled on a Crab Manicotti dish out of Everyday Pasta for dinner. It works out well for me – I need to remind my husband of this book’s worth again if I want to get Giada’s new cookbook before Christmas.

This dish is creamy and crabby. But be careful of hidden shells and cartilage if you don’t shell your own crab. I picked over the meat twice and still found a couple of bits after that. It also freezes well in small portions – I made a full batch, cooked 4, and froze the remainder in 4-shell portions for an easy weeknight dinner.

Crab Manicotti (or Cannelloni)

Freezer-friendly creamy crab manicotti - make one and freeze one!


  • For the Bechamel Sauce:
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • For the Manicotti:
  • 1 box Manicotti pasta shells (12-15 count)
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Regiano cheese, divided
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lb lump crab meat, inspected for shell pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper


  1. To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the milk one cup at a time, whisking until completely smooth after each addition.
  4. Whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes (do not boil).
  5. Preheat the oven to 375.
  6. Butter or spray a 9x13 baking dish or (2 8x8) with non-stick spray and put 1 cup of bechamel sauce in the bottom.
  7. Cook the pasta shells in salted water until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
  8. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, 3/4 cup cheese, egg yolk, basil, parsley, crab, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  9. Fill the pasta shells with the crab mixture and place in the prepared baking dish.
  10. Top the filled manicotti with 2-3 cups of the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
  11. To freeze: Prepare as instructed and freeze. To reheat, let thaw in the fridge overnight and bake until bubbly and hot throughout.


Yields: 6-7 servings

Adapted from Everyday Pasta, 2007

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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