Tonight I felt like making the manicotti that we were supposed to have on our Thanksgiving table. It’s cold and nasty out for the past 3 days and I really didn’t feel like going out. When I saw that I still had the cheeses needed for the dish it became our dinner. It was very good and Mick bought in some fresh baked bread to have with it so I didn’t even need to bake any.
Baked Cheese Manicotti
12 large manicotti shells
2-15 ounce containers of ricotta cheese
3 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt plus 1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
Most people think you have to pre-boil the manicotti shells but you actually don’t if you thin your sauce down a lot, they will cook fine in about an hour covered in a dish in a 325 degree oven, remove the cover at the end to brown the top a little. Let the dish stand about 10 minutes before serving so the cheeses tighten up and don’t run out of the shells when you serve these.
Mix all the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, parmesean, salt and pepper and parsley together in a bowl. If using manicotti shells that haven’t been pre-boiled you can begin stuffing them with a teaspoon, make sure to not leave air pockets in them, if you have a pastry bag with a large tip this step goes really fast, you could use a large Zip Lock bag with the corner cut off too. In 2 baking dishes put 2 cups of your sauce mixed with one cup of water, set the filled shells on the sauce and cover with more sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for one hour, remove cover and sprinkle with some of the reserved mozzarella and place back in oven to melt the topping. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to let the casserole tighten up so the cheese doesn’t all run out when it is served.
You can also pre-boil the shells until they are Al Dente and rinse them, drain them well and then fill them. Put 2 cups of your sauce in the bottom of 2 small casserole dishes and place the filled shells on the sauce, cover with 2 more cups of sauce and then cover with foil and bake as above but for only 30-45 minutes, follow the rest of the procedure from above.
I used some fresh rolled pasta today for these and they came out very good, Mick enjoyed them a lot and will take some for luch tomorrow probably. Hope everyone is warm and safe and enjoying the season.