I needed to use up some ricotta the other day. I had several boxes of pasta to choose from, but the manicotti was screaming my name. I just couldn’t resist. It was a good thing.
Although manicotti is a little time consuming to make, it’s worth it. It’s delicious.
I started with the sauce. You don’t have to use meat, it can be vegetarian, this time I used a locally sourced sweet Italian ground pork. I use locally sourced whenever possible, it’s just better!
Cook the pork in skillet. To it add, vegetables you are using. I used bell peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Next came seasonings and crushed tomatoes.
Continue to cook several minutes to enhance flavors.
While the sauce is simmering, boil water for your manicotti.
Once it comes to a boil add the pasta.
Only let it cook for a few minutes. It should be very al dente. It cooks so much in the oven, if you overcook to begin with, it will be mushy after baking.
Once it is cooked, cool in an ice bath.
Remove from ice bath after a minute or 2 and pat dry.
In bowl, combine ricotta, egg, parmesan and seasonings. I also added some sauteed veggies. Put filling in piping bag and pipe into the shells.
Lay the shells in baking dishes.
Top with the red sauce and a little sprinkle of mozzerella.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Sit back and enjoy. This was a lot of work, you deserve it!
Manicotti with meat sauce
- 1 package manicotti shells
- 10 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound sweet italian ground pork
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon basil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt- variable
- 2 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
- 16 ounces lowfat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Start with the sauce. I used ground pork, so I started by cooking it. If you are using meat, simply start sauteeing veggies. To the pork, I added my veggies and continued cooking. Once veggies are soft, add the crushed tomatoes and seasoning. Cook for at least 25-30 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, start your pasta. Bring water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add salt and pasta. Only let this cook a few minutes. There is a long baking time and you don’t want your pasta to turn to mush. Once its cooked, put it in ice water to cool quickly.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.From here, mix all ingredients for filling. Spoon into piping bag. Fill manicotti. Place all manicotti shells in baking dishes and top with plenty of sauce. We did ours in individual baking dishes, I just like them! I sprinkled with a little mozzarella. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool as long as you can stand it. The smell is amazing. Then, sit back, eat and enjoy. You deserve it!