musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Foodie Friday: Magnificent Manicotti!

YUM!  I *adore* manicotti!  I had it one time at a restaurant near my hometown when I was in high school.  I most definitely was hooked at the first bite.  Was several years before I 'put it all together' and figured out a recipe to make it at home.

Over the course of time, this became one of those things that Hubster became extremely good at making - so he is the star of this Foodie Friday!

The filling recipe can be used with manicotti shells, jumbo pasta shells, or even as lasagna filling and makes enough filling for approximately 14 manicotti shells or 24 jumbo shells.


Our favorite manicotti shells are any with*out* the ribs.  I know they make the pasta that you don't have to cook before stuffing and baking.  We've tried these.  We prefer the more traditional way of cooking your shells to al dente then stuffing and baking. 

This past weekend we used some spicy Italian sausage we had in the freezer and browned it along with some diced yellow sweet peppers.  It's really up to you what you might like to add.  Fresh spices in the sauce or added to the ground chuck are wonderful - basil, oregano, parsley, garlic would be recommended.

Manicotti

14 manicotti noodles or 24 jumbo pasta shells cooked to al dente
1 lb ground chuck, sausage, or spicy Italian sausage, browned and drained
2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 eggs - beaten
1 lb mozzarella, divided
1-1/2 slices moist bread - crumbled
1/4 c milk
1 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 c freshly grated parmesan and/or romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine browned meat, eggs, 1/2 lb mozzarella, bread, milk, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese in large bowl.


Grease bottom of 10 x 14 (or similar) casserole dish.

Rinse cooked pasta in cold water to stop cooking and to make the noodles easier to handle. 

Taking one manicotti noodle, cup in one hand with one end in palm, and other end held up for stuffing.  Using your fingers, scoop about a 1/3 cup of filling with your opposite hand.  Gently, push the filling in at the top and, using one or two fingers, push filling to bottom.  Be careful not to push to hard as noodle will split.  If this happens - no worries!  Just wrap the torn noodle around the appropriate amount of filling and lay in pan as normal.



Once all noodles have been stuffed (or you have run out of filling), pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top making sure all manicotti are covered.  Then spread remaining 1/2 lb of mozzarella over top of this. 



Bake in preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes until cheese is golden and filling is heated through. 

Remove dish from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.



Delicious!

Have a noodly-kind of day ~

Robin Z

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