1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (I used part skim.)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I used 1/2 cup of basil paste.)
1 pound lump crabmeat (I used three cans of Chicken of the Sea lump crab meat.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (I used mixed peppercorns.)
Bechamel Sauce, recipe follows
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg yolk, basil, crab, salt, and pepper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered baking dish. Top the filled cannelloni with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (I only had salted.)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed (I used 2%.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (I used the mixed again.)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (I used jarred.)
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool and then cover and refrigerate.)
I would say that my substitutions worked fine. I have never had a Bechamel sauce, so I can't speak to its authenticity. It didn't end up being very thick, but it kept the pasta wet during the baking process. The meal turned out very well, although I would imagine that it would be even better if Giada herself had made it for me!
Here's the final result...