Crab Manicotti/Cannelloni

in Freezer Friendly, Pasta, 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

8 comments… add one
  • We make this one all the time from that book. Though we add a little red sauce as well! So good.

  • I love that cookbook! I can’t imagine not having Food Network available to me whenever I wanted it. 🙂

  • I’m the same way with background television!

  • ohhh yum! this looks delish! i’ve been wanting Giada’s cookbook for a while, just haven’t gotten around to it yet, and of course now she has another one! (btw, JUST found your blog…and i’m so glad i did!)

  • This is my first time to your blog. I spotted your photo on Tastespotting and I had to come look! YUM, that sounds so good. And I agree with a previous poster, how could you live without The Food Network (and HGTV, in my case)?

    I’ll be back for more!

  • Hi Duchess, I have just started reading your blog and REALLY like it and REALLY like the food that you put in it. 🙂 therefore, consider yourself tagged… as I really want others to see all of your yummy confections. 🙂


  • I made this last summer; I saw it on foodtv before HD. I am still not a fan of bechamel. However, I rescued the recipe with some tomato sauce, and it is delicious!

    Glad you got your HD! (how could you not want to make this after seeing it in all of its HD glory?)

  • Wow, this looks great! Nice photos, too.

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