Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti

A little while ago our good friends had us over for dinner and served up some delicious meat-stuffed manicotti. It was very tasty and the passed down family recipe seemed easy enough... it gave me the courage to take a stab at a similar recipe. I decided to make ricotta-stuffed manicotti with meat sauce. This recipe is many recipes put together the way I thought they might taste good. It turned out unbelievably tasty!
Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti
1 pkg. (8oz) manicotti
2 containers (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup (or less) freshly chopped basil
1 1/2 jars (1lb, 9 oz) spaghetti sauce, marinara or something plain
1 tube Italian Sausage (I used Bob Evan's)
1/2 cup water *helps to continue cooking undercooked pasta

1. Mix together ricotta, 1 cup parmesan, eggs, and seasonings, set aside (could be refrigerated for use later).

2. Boil manicotti until just barely al dente NOT FLOPPY (6 min for Barilla brand), drain and cool. It makes it easier to fill manicotti if it is undercooked, the extra 1/2 cup of water added to the sauce will continue the cooking process.

3. Brown meat and add to marinara sauce with 1/2 cup water, add thin layer to lightly BUTTERED 9x13 baking dish.

4. Good Tip: Using a large plastic baggie, spoon ricotta mixture in and snip off 1 corner. Use this to easily fill cooled manicotti.

5. Place manicotti into baking dish as you fill them, cover with remaining marinara/meat sauce, sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.
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