Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meat and Cheese Manicotti

We were having dinner guests, and I wanted to make something very special for them, they are fellow foodies. This recipe is a HEAVILY modified recipe by Giada De Laurentis. Her original recipe sounded too bland for me so I changed it quite drastically and it was sublime, so rich and yummy! I served with Parmesan Breadsticks and a nice salad.

• 4 tsp olive oil
• ½ onion diced
• ½ lb medium Italian sausage
• ½ lb veal (very hard to find, but worth it)
• Salt and pepper
• Package of Manicotti noodles
• 1 (15 oz container) whole milk ricotta
• 3 cups shredded Mozzarella
• 1 cup grated Parmesan
• 4 tbl chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 cups marinara sauce
• 2 tbl butter
• 1 container Fettuccini Sauce (don't use jarred sauce)
• Onion Powder and Garlic Powder (to taste)
• Oregano (2 tsp)
• 1 small tub of cream cheese

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and meats. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.

Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream cheese and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, onion and garlic powder, oregano, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture, and re-taste for seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. (I have these wonderful boats, I used those) Spoon the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. I tried my pastry bag but that did not work, I finally stuffed some mixture in one end, that opens up the tube and I used my fingers to stuff them, messy but it worked well.

Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish (or whatever you want to use) and spoon a bit more red sauce on top. Then top with your Fettuchini Sauce.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta.

Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

*I doubled this recipe and had enough for 14 tubes and enough leftovers to do it again, I froze the filling*


Jan said...

That looks to die for, Cheryl. Great job! I bet your guests enjoyed it.

Pam said...

I wish I was at your house for dinner that night. YUM!

Kevin said...

Those look nice and cheesy and good! I have been wanting to try making manicotti for a while now.

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