I have revived an old favorite for dinner tonight. This recipe has been one of my favorites since I discovered it about 20+ years ago.
Manicotti (or man a got – as my father taught me to pronounce it)
For me this is a 3 part process thanks to the recipe I gleaned from all those years ago. While their recipe is almost spot on I did make a few changes to it. I will note them and you can try the recipe how you see fit. This recipe has you making your own shells do not let that scare you, it is so close to making a crepe and so easy and so unbelievably tasty you will never use those hard boxed manicotti shells ever again.
A good Manicotti consists of 3 sections of goodness combined together for a completely tasty dish.
First here is the link to the McCalls recipe which is very similar to my original from many years ago.
First we have the sauce, I make a very large pot of sauce because when I use sauce I use sauce so I may as well make enough to use in other dishes too or even to freeze.
So let’s get to it.
2 – 106 oz cans of Italian Tomatoes (I find these at Costco)
4 – 8 oz cans of Tomato Paste
1 – Large onion finely chopped
6 – cloves of Garlic finely chopped
1 – Cayenne Pepper finely chopped (optional, I use one and there is no kick it is just right)
2 TBS of Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
1 TBS Salt (I use Sea Salt or Real Salt
1 tsp pepper
3 TBS Italian seasoning (this is a mix of the following: Thyme, Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, Savory and Sage). You can add your own mix of these as well. I am never light on the herbs.
Heat the oil over med/hi heat and saute the onions, garlic and peppers. I lightly brown these and wait for a good aroma coming from the mixture, while the mixture is sauteing quickly use a food processor or blender and lightly process the whole tomatoes until you like the consistency. I like mine to have very small chunks only. Mix those ingredients in the pan and add in your seasonings. You can add water but I did not find the need to this time. I bring this to a boil and then lower to a simmer and let cook for at least an hour, stirring often. This recipe gave me enough for 2 large pans and 2 small pans of Manicotti and a large bowl to cook for pasta, meatball subs or what ever makes you happy.
6 Eggs (although I doubled and used 12)
1 1/2 C Unbleached Flour (I used 3 to double)
1/4 t sale (I did not double the salt)
1 1/2 C water (3 to double)
Mix all ingredients with a whisk or mixer until thoroughly combined. Heat an 8″ skillet. I use a bit of olive oil spray to help keep the shells from sticking (I use the Misto sprayer (shown below). Pour about 3 tablespoons, I am never accurate with this I pour until it feels like the right amount and then rotate the pan to spread it quickly over the bottom. Let it cook until no liquid appears, this goes rather quickly, I do flip it just for a second and then begin to stack on a plate. I separate each shell with wax paper, trust me you will want to do this otherwise you will have a big stack of stuck together shells and they are no good.
2 lbs Ricotta Cheese (I doubled to 4)
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese – I used grated but you can also use a block and cut into small cubes (16oz to double)
1/3 fresh grated Parmesan (2/3 to double)
2 Eggs (4 to double) (lightly beaten)
1 t Salt (I did not double)
1/4 t Pepper
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
To assemble: Use 1/2 cup sauce to line bottom of pan. Fill each shell with about a 1/4 cup of the filling, roll up and place seam down into the pan, I usually fit about 8 shells, I put 6 – 7 on the second level. I take about a cup to a cup and a half and pour it evenly over all the shells.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Sprinkle more fresh grated Parmesan on top and bake for 5 more minutes.
At this point you can either serve with extra sauce or completely cool this, wrap in foil and freeze for later. If cooking from frozen it will take about 55-60 minutes to thoroughly cook this.
|Uncooked and ready to cook or freeze.
|Cooked and ready to serve.