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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mmm Manicotti

I woke yesterday with the wish to finally get back into my kitchen since the big party AND with an incredible urge to make manicotti. Funny thing is? I don't think I've ever eaten manicotti let alone made it before. Weird, eh? Stuffed pasta dishes weren't big in our family - other than my father's Christmas ravioli and the occasional offering of stuffed shells on our restaurant menu. So how could I crave them? Ya got me.. but I'm glad I did!!

Not having a recipe made it a lil hard to figure out how to make them, although I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to stuff them with. So off I went to All Recipes as I always do when in search of ideas and or specific recipes. I was not disappointed in finding many recipes for Manicotti, that's for sure. I chose to go with Manicotti Alla Romana submitted by Mark Blau. Although I didn't follow his recipe to the Tee.. it did give me the guidelines I needed for a perfect Manicotti dish.

The reason I chose his recipe was because of the bechamel sauce involved. Although I wasn't sure if I'd include it or not - as my favorite Lasagna Roll recipe from Giada (a/k/a The Head and Mammories) calls for bechamel, it doesn't need it and I haven't included it since the very first time I made her rolls years ago. But this bechamel was slightly different with the addition of chicken bouillon. I found that interesting and decided to try it. It was fantastic! My only change next time would be to try to create this sauce with chicken stock as opposed to the bouillon granules because you could slightly taste it was bouillon. I really feel though, that this addition of bechamel really pushed the dish over the top. So if you decide to try this recipe.. don't skip it. =)

The other changes I made were to leave the spinach out and to substitute 1/2 pound of the ground meat for 1/2 pound of pork sausage. And I added Pecorino to the meat mixture as well.

Garlic & Onions
Is there anything better than the scent of garlic and onions cooking? I think not!

Here is my slightly different version of the above referenced recipe -

2 TBS olive oil
1/2 c. chopped vidalia onion
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground round
1/2 pound ground pork sausage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
14 manicotti shells (1 package)
2 c. ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
3 c. marinara sauce (divided)
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. all-purpose flour
2 TBS. chicken bouillon granules
2 c. half-and-half
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley
2 TBS. fresh chopped basil
1/2 c. Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Saute garlic for 1 minute and stir in ground beef and pork sausage. Cook until well browned and crumbled. Season with salt & pepper and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Add manicotti shells and parboil for half of the time recommended on the package (5 minutes). Drain and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from cracking.

To the ground beef/pork sausage mixture add the ricotta cheese and Pecorino Romano. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Gently drain the manicotti shells and carefully stuff each one with the meat and cheese mixture; place shells in prepared dish. Lightly cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean, damp towel to prevent shells from cracking. See Note.

Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and chicken bouillon. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble. Stir in half and half and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Pour or ladle the sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.

Carefully pour or ladle marinara sauce over the white sauce, trying to layer the sauces without mixing. Sprinkle the basil over the marinara sauce.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so the manicotti will set a bit.

*Note: After stuffing the Manicotti, I placed them into a plastic container that has a tight fitting lid. I used wax paper between the layers to prevent sticking and froze 8 Manicotti and only baked 6. Two manicotti per person is a generous portion.. unless you are Hubbs and eat 4. har!

Manicotti

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Comments on "Mmm Manicotti"

 

Blogger Meeta said ... (9/13/2006 7:28 AM) : 

mmmmm, mmm, mmmhhhh!

That looks great. I love the picture and it got me drooling all over again. STOP doing this to me. Something that I certainly need to try soon. Soeren will die for this!

 

Anonymous gilly said ... (9/13/2006 9:57 AM) : 

This looks fantastic, Lisa! I know what you mean by craving foods that you've never even had - so I certainly don't think you are crazy! Luckily it makes for great inspiration!

 

Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (9/13/2006 10:28 AM) : 

I've never had Manicotti either. I think you need to make another batch immediately!

 

Blogger Laura Rebecca said ... (9/13/2006 12:00 PM) : 

God, I love manicotti -- such comfort food. Your manicotti looks amazing!

 

Anonymous Britt Arnhild said ... (9/13/2006 1:44 PM) : 

Thay look perfect. I've never heard of manicotti before, but now you have given me a pretty good idea.

 

Anonymous Ellie said ... (9/13/2006 10:59 PM) : 

Not fair.

I finished my sad lunch of two very dry vegetarian sushi rolls (bloody rip-off inner city cafes!), and wondered whether you were feeling better and had posted since your last declaration of hangoveredness.

*sobs*

Why why why must you post such deliciousness? And why was I foolish enough to check this whilst on my lunch break at work!

 

Blogger Lis said ... (9/14/2006 11:08 AM) : 

Meeta - I can see this being a good dinner for a child.. sauce, pasta and cheese! Yum! hehe

Gilly - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one =)

Kev - I think so too.. was even better the next day for lunch ;)

LR - Why thank you ma'am!

Britt Arnhild - I'm glad I could show you something new!

Ellie muh luv - I'm sorry! hahahaaa! Had I known what your reaction was going to be like, I would have e-mailed you a warning ;)

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/14/2006 12:30 PM) : 

Swoon!

Those look beyond incredible ... wish I could have some!

 

Blogger Callipygia said ... (9/14/2006 6:37 PM) : 

Lis, I doubt there is any left for me. Yeah, I am with you on the bechamel sauce. Never thought to oomph it up with bouillon though.

 

Blogger Lis said ... (9/14/2006 11:29 PM) : 

Anon - thanks! Try them, please!

Callipygia - You're right.. they are gone - but I froze some for another night - I'll call you over ;)

I was surfing channels earlier and ended up watching a bit of 30 min. meals.. Rachel made a white sauce (base for some crazy mac & cheese dish she dreamed up) and used 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 chicken stock - so that's the way I'm going to go next time, give it a try =)

 

Anonymous Glenna said ... (9/15/2006 7:07 AM) : 

OOOOOOHHHHHHHHH Yum!

 

Blogger Stephanie said ... (9/15/2006 4:26 PM) : 

Hey Lis!

Good to see you back in the kitchen!

Just wanted to remind you: BBM packages are due today!

Please let me know if you've already shipped your box, or if you're dealing with delays.

Thanks!

 

Blogger Lis said ... (9/15/2006 10:13 PM) : 

eek! I'm so sorry, Stephanie! I completely forgot to e-mail you.. yes, I sent my package off yesterday.. going to e-mail you right now.. so why the hell am I commenting here?

There's my excuse for forgetting.. Imadork ;)

 

Blogger Cheryl said ... (7/12/2009 7:37 PM) : 

Slightly unrelated recommendation: add bacon to your bechamel sauce, pour it over your favorite pasta and bake. It's so fantastically deliciously amazing. Don't forget to add at least some of the bacon grease. This is either from Giada or Lidia, I don't remember which.

I will definitely be trying your manicotti (I too have an irrational desire for this dish that I've never had!).

 

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