Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mom's Stuffed Manicotti

I first made this recipe on 3/28/1971 when I was just 13 years old! Yes, I was cooking since I was a young girl. I have no idea where I got the recipe (probably the back of the manicotti noodle box), but it is still one of my favorite Italian recipes.

In addition to the ingredients listed under the Meat Sauce and Cheese Stuffing, you will need:
1 box of manicotti shells (12-14 in a box)
1 cup or more of Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (in addition to what you put in the cheese stuffing)

Pasta Shells
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook 12-14 manicotti noodles until just al dente. Rinse in cold water and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a clean flour sack towel. Set aside.

Meat Sauce
1 pound ground sirloin (90% lean)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. dried basil, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
12 oz can Contadina tomato paste (this brand is the best)
2 cups water (or if you like, 1 cup good red wine and 1 cup of water)
(add about 1 Tbsp brown sugar or raw sugar if you like your sauce a bit sweeter)

Brown ground sirloin, onion and garlic until onion is soft and meat is cooked. Add spices and allow to cook about a minute longer. Add tomato paste and water and stir until saucey. Let it come to a boil and then turn to a low simmer uncovered (or place a cover on cock-eyed to allow steam to escape), stirring occassionally. Simmer while preparing the rest of the ingredients or for at least a half hour.

Cheese stuffing
3 cups or 1 1/2 pounds of fresh ricotta cheese
2/3 cup of grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Combine all ingredients and stir until well mixed. Using a small spoon, fill the manicotti shells with cheese mixture. You can also cut the shells on one side, but filling them keeps the cheese inside the shells.

In a 13x9 inch glass dish, spoon enough meat sauce to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/3 of the sauce. Place the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in a single layer. Top with remaining meat sauce. then generously sprinkle 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated Romano or Parmesan cheese on top.**

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a generous amount of mozzarella or Italian cheese blend on top of the manicotti. (1 cup or more) and place manicotti on the middle rack of the oven so cheese doesn't burn. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browned. Remove from oven and allow to rest about 10 minutes before serving. This should serve 6-8 people, depending upon your appetite.Makes great leftovers the next day!

Serve with garlic toast or warm bread and a big salad. Makes a great meal for company!

**At this point you can freeze it if you want. (If you freeze it, be sure to thaw dish completely in the refrigerator before baking it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment