Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Manicotti w/ Meat Sauce and some mishaps

I came across this while reading a Cook's Country magazine. I thought it looked so good and was looking for a new Italian meal for my menu. My family loved this and I am sure it will be great tomorrow as leftovers. I will never use manicotti noodles again when making manicotti (that sounded funny). Using softened no boil lasagne noodles softened and rolling them is 100 times easier than trying to stuff manicotti. They are fragile and it is a mess, at least when I have tried anyway.

Meat Sauce

1 onion, chopped
6 ounce package sliced pepperoni
1 pound 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
4 cups shredded provolone and mozzarella mix (I found it shredded together in a package)
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

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Pulse onion and pepperoni in food processor until coarsely ground. Put in large saucepan with ground beef, mix together well over medium heat until no longer pink.
Transfer 1 cup beef mixture to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. 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.
Combine cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta and provolone), egg, salt, pepper, basil, and reserved meat mixture in large bowl. Place noodles in a 9 x 13 pan and pour boiling water over them to soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain noodles on kitchen towel, discard water and dry pan for manicotti.
Spread half of meat sauce over bottom of baking dish. Place ¼ cup cheese filling on each noodle and roll up. Arrange with seam-side down over sauce in baking dish. Spread remaining sauce over manicotti. Cover with foil and bake about 40 minutes, until bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and provolone. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

Tonight was the second time I made this, but the first we actually ate it. I first tried yesterday but noticed some paper in the ground onion and pepperoni. I just thought it was a sticker from the meat or something then I realized it waas one of these:

I guess there was one in the pepperoni. I was too disturbed to even research to see if it would hurt and dumped the whole thing down the sink. Strike one.
Tonight when I was seasoning the sauce with pepper, the lid wasn't on the pepper. Oops. Strike two.

By the time I scooped out all the pepper, about 3 cups of the sauce was gone. So, our manicotti wasn't sauce-y enough but delicious nonetheless. Just thought I would share my mistakes of the day. Please learn from mine, these aren't my first kitchen mishaps and certainly won't be the last.