Today I’m excited to share this recipe as part of an ongoing partnership with DeLallo Foods. As always, all opinions written are purely our own. We’re incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow us to continue sharing delicious recipes with you, so thank you for supporting us and the brands we love.
Panigacci may sound fancy, but just think of this as a savory Italian crepe cake. The process is very similar in fact, the panigacci are made almost exactly like crepes (the batter is eggless, however). The pasta is then layered with a savory filling of pesto and ricotta cheese, and topped with grated parmesan before it is baked and served warm atop a bed of marinara.
We’ve made a simpler, un-layered version of this (that we called Testaroli) before, inspired by a dish we enjoyed on our honeymoon in Italy. From the little information I was able to dig up on testaroli and panigacci, the main differences are the origins (they each trace roots back to a different small town along the Ligurian coast of Italy) as well as the final presentation. Testaroli are often cut into rhombuses (or parallelograms? Help, I’m having high school geometry flashbacks!) and then boiled before being tossed in pesto or another sauce for serving, whereas panigacci are served whole. Technically I think you could call this dish either, but I’m going with panigacci.
Traditionally testaroli and panigacci are made in a wood-fired oven using a terra-cotta cooking vessel called a testa, that looks a lot like the drip tray of a terra cotta pot. The testas are heated and the batter is spread into them in a thin layer, where they cook in the hot oven. Since I don’t have a wood fired oven nor a testa on hand, I had to make due with a stove and a small non-stick skillet. The batter is slightly thicker than a typical crepe batter, so the crepes are thicker and take a bit longer to cook, but you’ll know when they are done when the top is evenly opaque and the bottom is speckled with golden brown spots. You can cook them slightly longer for crispy edges (which I loved), or just until cooked through for a softer, more tender pasta.
We found the pesto alone to be too oily as a filling, and resolved that by mixing it with ricotta cheese, almost like a lasagna filling. Served atop a bed of bright tomato sauce it makes for a stunning presentation. And while it is time consuming to make all the individual crepes, they can be made ahead of time and then layered and baked prior to serving.
When given the choice I’ll always choose fresh pesto. However it is not always a choice, especially in the winter months when fresh basil is sad and expensive. It’s during times like these that I am grateful for DeLallo. We used their traditional basil pesto here, but I imagine the sun-dried tomato or spicy red pepper varieties would just as good in this unique Italian dish.
Layered Panigacci with Pesto and Ricotta
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup DeLallo® Traditional Basil Pesto
- olive oil, for brushing
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper; spray lightly with cooking spray. Whisk together water, flour, and salt until smooth. Set aside for 15 minutes to rest.
- To prepare filling, combine ricotta cheese and pesto until evenly incorporated.
- Heat a small 6-inch skillet over medium heat. Brush with a light layer of olive oil. When pan is hot, ladle about 1/4 cup of batter into skillet, swirling until the batter evenly coats the bottom of the pan (like you were making a crepe). Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the top is evenly opaque and edges begin to curl, then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until golden brown in spots. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, and top with 1 tablespoon of pesto filling, spreading into an even layer all the way to the edges. Repeat with remaining batter, layering with pesto filling to create two ‘cakes’ with about 6 layers each. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
- Spoon warm marinara sauce onto plates or serving dishes and place cake on top. Slice into wedges and serve.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.
Disclosure: This post was created as part of an ongoing partnership with DeLallo Foods. As always, all opinions written are purely our own. We’re incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow us to continue sharing delicious recipes with you, so thank you for supporting us and the brands we love.
My family is from Pontremoli in Lunigiana. If I might make two small corrections…testaroli were traditionally made in a testo (not testa..which means ‘head’). The word derives from the ancient roman testum. Also in Lunigiana at least they were .ade in the embers of a wood fire, not a wood oven. The panigacci were made in smaller earthenware testi that were stacked in the fire. Your recipe is good!
Love the look of this dish. I’ve never heard of it, but I am looking forward to trying it. Looks delicious.
This is the first time I’ve come across your website &, to coin a phrase ‘I’ll be back’ hahaha
I’m sorry but paginate are really more a sort of bread, they have not much to do with crepes, like , at all, I wonder how you got so confused.
Made it! Family loved it! Super easy!
Hi dear Lindsay. Thanks for teaching me something new. Your blog always delights and induces drool. I think you have a tiny type-o in your serving size? Should be “12” 6-inch pasta cakes, right? ;-) that’s what the photos lead me to believe. Prego!
Nope, no typo: it makes 12 pasta rounds (‘crepes’), but once layered you’ll get two cakes out of this recipe. :)
Mouth-watering! Looking forward to your future posts. ;D
This is my idea of comfort food! I need to make this ASAP.
This looks delicious – a perfect way to pair classic italian flavours. Also, pretty much anything with marinara, basil and ricotta is going to be a winner in my books!
Oh wow this looks amazing! Such a gorgeous dish!
I’ve never had panigacci!! I am so intrigued by this dish. I generally like to make homemade pesto (100% of the time), but I totally agree. Sometimes the jar stuff is necessary every once in a while, especially when it is a component of a dish, rather than the main event!
Have never seen anything like this before. Looks incredible!
Amazing dish! I never had such delicious food ever. I simply followed the direction and it got ready in a couple of minutes. I’m a house wife and love to make new dish every Sunday. I got here the new dish for Sunday. Thank you.
I love it when someone shows me a new dish I’ve never heard of before! This is beautiful! So many different possibilities you could go with here. : )
Caught this on Pinterest. Looks lovely! Such a good idea.
I’ve never heard of this before! So yummy!
This dish looks supremely yummy!! I just had my first DeLallo product last week…LOVED It! I’ll definitely have to keep on the look out for these items and make this!
This is too die for! It looks so classic yet fancy! I am so anxious to try this!
Amazing dish. We love DeLallo in our house too! :)
What a beautiful dish! I love pesto and know I’d love this!
This dish looks delicious, cant wait to make it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. A fan
I have never heard of panigacci before, but this looks super simple and way delicious. I might need to make this the next time I get the urge to deplete my savings and go back to Florence. (Italian for dinner is always cheaper than a plane ticket ;)
WHAAAAA this looks magical. like my every dream come true.
I have never heard of Panigacci, but it looks absolutely delicious!! Something I should really try. :)
What a simple elegant dish! Pinning to try soon.
Why is it that I’ve never heard of panigacci before today? It’s beautiful and you got me craving for it.
Thanks for the great idea. I have a little leftover ricotta in my fridge and now I know what I will cook for lunch tommorow :-)
This looks so good! I love all the layers, it makes it look so fancy!
Ohh this is like a savory version of the thousand layers cakes! Looks delicious. My boyfriend LOVES ricotta cheese (and that’s an understatement..), I think I’ll score some brownie points if I make this ;)
I had never heard of panigacci before this post, now that I know, I feel like I’ve been missing out! Pinning this for later.