Friday, October 9, 2009

Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce

Everyday Food is to Sara as Cook's Country is to me.

I LOVE this magazine, and I have been getting it from the charter issue.
In fact, I have been getting it for so long, that now I use all of Oct/Nov issues to plan all of my meals for October and November, and so on and so on...This allows me to try new recipes interspersed with old favorites that I forgot about.
Until I burn out, and then we have frozen pizza, and shhh...hamburger helper. I'm so ashamed right now.

But lately I have been on a roll! Every dinner we had this week was from the 2009 Oct/Nov issue, available in stores everywhere.
Last night, we had Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce.
I even remembered that Cook's usually allows you to prep one step up to 24 hrs ahead, and made the sauce a whole one hour ahead. The sauce was gooood. Not so lean, but so good, Patrick wants to use this sauce on other pastas. Could be the highly addictive chemical additives found in pepperoni combined with the naptime inducing effects of pasta have created an unstoppable force.
My 12 year old assembled the cheese filling. I would recommend a softer, milder provolone. She complained a lot about the stinkiness of my provolone.

There are pictures of this, I will attempt to upload them, but I apologize for my technical inadequacies in advance.

Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce

You will need 16 no-boil lasagna noodles. The test kitchen’s preferred brand, Barilla, comes 16 to a box, but other brands contain only 12. It is important to let the dish cool for 15 minutes after baking.

serves 6 to 8
Meat Sauce

1 onion, chopped
6 ounces sliced deli pepperoni
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper


3 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (see note)

1. GRIND MEAT Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse onion and pepperoni in food processor until coarsely ground. Add beef and pulse until thoroughly combined.

2. MAKE SAUCE Transfer beef mixture to large saucepan and cook over medium heat, breaking up mixture with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup beef mixture to paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Add tomato paste, garlic, and pepper flakes to pot with remaining meat mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (At this point, sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for 3 days.)

3. PREPARE FILLING Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup provolone, egg, salt, pepper, basil, and reserved meat mixture in large bowl. Pour 2 quarts boiling water into 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Soak noodles until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain noodles on kitchen towel. Pour off water and dry baking dish.

4. ASSEMBLE DISH Spread half of meat sauce over bottom of baking dish. Following photos below, top each soaked noodle with ¼ cup cheese filling, roll, and arrange, seam-side down, over sauce in baking dish. Spread remaining sauce over manicotti. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling around edges, about 40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and provolone. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

STEP BY STEP: Thinking Outside the Tube

1. Soak the no-boil lasagna noodles briefly in hot water. With the short side facing you, spread the filling across the bottom of each and roll into a tube.

2. Arrange the rolled manicotti, seam-side down, over the sauce in the baking dish.

1 comment:

  1. this looks so good. and my kids are always up for any sort of pasta dish, so we will definitely have to try it...
    (by the way, i am so glad you joined our blog!)