So, while the fresh egg pasta of my last post is great and all, I’m guessing it’s a lot more useful with the recipe for the actual meal. So, here goes, manicotti with meat sauce. You don’t have to use home made pasta though (obviously). Just, please don’t use those hard manicotti tubes. The ones that you have to boil, then struggle with to fill with a spoon, or a piping bag, or a zip lock bag. Get yourself some fresh lasagna noodles at the grocery store and use them. It will change your life.
So. Much. Easier!
Now, I made the sauce from scratch for this one, but neither Bo nor I were in love with it. It was a little too tangy for our tastes. I’m not sure if the tomato paste that I forgot to buy had anything to do with that, or if it needed a half a cup of parmesan cheese. Anyway, questions to reexamine the next time I make it. It’s still good though, just keep those thoughts in mind if you go to make it. I’d go with the parmesan cheese.
Ok, I have a second thought on the sauce. I would still add parmesan cheese next time, but I was just reminded that I completely cleaned my plate at dinner. Meaning: the sauce really couldn’t have been that tangy. Don’t forget the tomato paste and add some cheese and I’m guessing it’ll be great.
First off, take a medium onion and do a rough chop.
Throw the onion and the pepperoni into the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse it a couple of times to get a course grind.
Add the ground beef to the food processor.
Pulse it a couple of times until it’s all combined.
Throw the meat and onion mixture into a large frying pan.
Cook until browned.
Take out one cup of the meat mixture and reserve it to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan. This is also the point where you would add the tomato paste you know, if you’d remembered to buy it.
Cook it for 30 seconds until fragrant. Don’t mind the steam on the camera lens.
Add the crushed tomatoes.
Add the Italian seasoning, fresh basil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese if you go that route. Leave it to thicken up for 20 minutes.
While the sauce is thickening, make the filling. Put the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses along with the dried parsley, fresh basil, salt, pepper and eggs in a medium bowl.
Give it a good mix.
Remember that meat sitting on a paper towel on a plate? Did you think I forgot about it? Nope. Throw it in the bowl with the filling (I know, manicotti doesn’t have a meat filling, so sue me).
Give it a good mix.
Put half of the sauce in the bottom of a big casserole dish.
Place a generous 1/4 cup of filling across the bottom third of your pasta, across the 6” width (you’ll need to get your hands a little messy here to get it spread somewhat evenly across.
Roll the pasta into a tube
Look. Doesn’t that just look delicious, and it takes second with zero aggravation. Once again, do not buy those hard pasta tubes for this!
Lay your manicotti, seam side down, on top of the sauce.
Cover with the rest of the sauce, then cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
This is the pasta right out of the oven. I wanted to make sure it was cooked before dishing it up, which is why there’s a little hole is that bottom right corner. It’s also why my tongue is still rough and burnt on my front right side. Lesson of the day: this is very hot after having been in the oven for 40 minutes. Don’t eat a bite straight out of the pan. Or at the very least blow on it first.
Delicious, even with the slightly tangy sauce.
Here’s the printable:
- 1 medium, roughly chopped
- 6 oz deli style pepperoni
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 12 fresh lasagna noodles
For the sauce
- Pulse the onion and pepperoni in a food processor until you have a course grind. Add the beef and pulse a few times to combine.
- Put the meat mixture in a skillet and cook until well browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Transfer one cup of the cooked mixture to a paper towel lined plate for use later.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thickened.
For the manicotti
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the middle position.
- In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses with the eggs, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Add the reserved cup of meat mixture and mix together to combine.
- If using store bought noodles, soak them in boiling water in a large dish for 5 minutes to make pliable enough to roll.
- Spread half of the sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish.
- Place a generous ¼ cup of the filling on the bottom third of each noodle, spreading evenly across. Roll it up to form a tube, then place seam side down on top of the sauce. Top noodles with remaining sauce.
- Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling at the edges.