Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yummy Manicotti

This is one of those recipes that when you make it people think you slaved in the kitchen. However, it's actually very simple and easy to make ahead. It's from my sister-in-law Stephanie Broders. I included her easy sauce recipe, although store-bought sauce works too.

8 oz manicotti (14 pieces)- do not cook it!
Spaghetti sauce (above)- or 26 oz of canned- if using can, add I cup of water
15oz ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
8oz mozzarella cheese- shredded (about 2 cups)
1/4c 3 cheese blend bag of asiago, parm, and Romano
1 egg
2T parsley chopped
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper
Bag of shredded cheese- any Italian blend-for sprinkling on top.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cook sauce and keep warm.
In a bowl, stir together cheeses, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well coated.
Place part of mixture in a FREEZER Ziploc bag (regular ones can bust at seams when using as a pastry bag). Cut off one small end of the bag making it into a pastry bag.
Squeeze cheese mixture into UNCOOKED manicotti tubes.
Spoon a small layer of warm sauce into a 9X13 pan. Place filled filled pasta into a single layer in pan on top of sauce. Pour remaining sauce over pasta- if freezing for later use see note at bottom. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly.

If freezing- save some sauce to pour on top when you reheat at your later date. (freeze it in a Ziploc bag and keep it with the frozen manicotti)
When cool place foil covered pan in freezer for up to 2 months.

Thaw in fridge over night. Pour sauce over top in a thin layer to prevent drying out (and sprinkle with extra cheese- if you like). Bake at 350 F for 45-60 minutes: until bubbly and hot in center.

20 minute spaghetti sauce
2 cans (6oz) Tom. Paste- any kind
3 cups of water
2T minced onion (dry)
2T Parmesan cheese
2T sugar
1t Italian seasoning mix(oregano, basil, thyme)
1/2t salt
1/2t garlic powder- may sub minced garlic
1/8t pepper
1 beef bouillon cube- can use granules

If using ground meat - brown first and drain.
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Can also add cooked Italian sausage to sauce or use to make chicken Parmesan by pouring over cooked chicken.