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In Parma, a city that has always been in love with things French, they sell crêpes on the street. But in Tuscany's Maremma region, they claim it was a chef from their region who introduced their local thin pancake, ciaffignone, to the French: when Catherine de' Medici, who liked her food, went to marry the Duke of Orléans, the future King Henri II in 1533, she took along an army of Tuscan chefs to Paris, one of whom prepared paper-then ciaffignoni... the French adored them, and adapted them into their own recipe for crêpes. Or so say the Tuscans.

Everywhere else, the Italians prefer to turn crespelle (or crespi) into stuffed oven dishes, not only dessert crêpes, but starter dishes called crespelle ripiene, or fazzoletti ('handkerchiefs') di crespelle or fagottini di crespelle. Inside these, you might find prosciutto, scampi, mushrooms, etc.

Some recipes make cannelloni with crêpes instead of pasta, including the famous crespelle alla Fiorentina filled with ricotta and spinach, and baked with a béchamel sauce. If they aren't rolled up, then they may be called pezzole delle nonne ('grandmothers' handkerchiefs').

In the Abruzzo, are called scripelle, and sometimes served in broth: scripelle 'mbusse.

Pizzas, Focacce & Flatbreads

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by kochtopf