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Old 12-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #21
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Aunt Bea and MedTran------ thank you for your ideas. (I don't use recipes for things lie that either, so I understand.)

So cooked and stuffed shells can be frozen easily? I'll try that, since making a large amount isn't that much harder than a smaller one. (But still wishing I had the humungus chest freezer we had on the ranch!)
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:53 AM   #22
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All my life I have had only the ricotta cheese and I hate it. I would love to taste something different. I hate it in lasagna also. I have never made either dish because I hate the ricotta. When I am served one of them, I pull out the ricotta and leave it on my plate. Just eat the macaroni and sauce. I prefer raviolis with a meat filling also. Any filling that isn't ricotta.
Addie, I was taught to make lasagna with a combination of shredded mozzarella, Parmigiana Regiano, and cottage cheese. I too am not a great fan of ricotta cheese. There are better flavors and textures out there. Muenster is a surprisingly good cheese with pasta as well.


With heavy pastas, like large shells, lasagna, manicotti, etc., I over-spice the sauce, as the pasta tends to make the sauce bland if I don't.

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Old 12-14-2013, 12:18 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by cave76 View Post
Aunt Bea and MedTran------ thank you for your ideas. (I don't use recipes for things lie that either, so I understand.)

So cooked and stuffed shells can be frozen easily? I'll try that, since making a large amount isn't that much harder than a smaller one. (But still wishing I had the humungus chest freezer we had on the ranch!)
I'm not sure what you meant, so just to be clear, I cook the pasta shells per package directions, cool, stuff and then freeze. When I use them later, I take them out of freezer and let them thaw for a couple of hours or so on counter (in fridge if they need to be out all day) and then pop in the oven with sauce to bake until hot.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:51 PM   #24
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Medtran----- that's very clear. Thank you. :)
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #25
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Stuffed Manicotti was always the birthday dinner request from my boys.

I'd just partially cook the pasta tubes and use a plastic bag with a corner cut out to stuff them with the filling from both ends.

I also don't like ricotta cheese, so my filling is cottage cheese, grated mozzarella, Parm, squeeze dried spinach, eggs and Italian Seasoning with a little fresh grated nutmeg. I covered the whole thing with home made marinara sauce and baked.

I made it once with meat added and everyone complained. That really surprised me as we are all defiantly meat eaters.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:50 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
All my life I have had only the ricotta cheese and I hate it. I would love to taste something different. I hate it in lasagna also. I have never made either dish because I hate the ricotta. When I am served one of them, I pull out the ricotta and leave it on my plate. Just eat the macaroni and sauce. I prefer raviolis with a meat filling also. Any filling that isn't ricotta.
I am going to repeat what others have said about Luca's lasagna. When I made this it totally changed my wife's idea of lasagna. She now prefers Luca's style to any other that she has had or made.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:58 PM   #27
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I am going to repeat what others have said about Luca's lasagna. When I made this it totally changed my wife's idea of lasagna. She now prefers Luca's style to any other that she has had or made.

I copied Luca's recipe. It looks delicious, but I would probably add a layer of ricotta since we like it. I buy a locally made ricotta. It's Lamagna brand. I don't know if it's sold anywhere but PGH. It is so excellent, when I use it I have to buy a bigger container than I need because I eat it right out of the container by the spoonfuls while I'm cooking.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:17 PM   #28
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I know this is about fillings. My question is, once you have this made,

How do you stuff the shells? And how long do you bake manicotti.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:29 PM   #29
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I know this is about fillings. My question is, once you have this made,

How do you stuff the shells? And how long do you bake manicotti.
I open them like those little plastic coin purses we had years ago, I hold one in the palm of my hand and push both ends towards the middle. Then I fill them with a teaspoon or a small one ounce disher. For manicotti I use sheets of fresh pasta and roll them up, I could never get the hang of filling the tubes. I bake both 30 to 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The time depends on the temperature when they go into the oven. Everything is basically cooked so they just need to heat up and get bubbly. Sometimes I start them covered with foil, sometimes not. If I start them covered I pull the foil and let the cheese get brown for 10 or 15 minutes at the end. They are very forgiving so you can slide a pan into the oven with other items, don't really be concerned with an exact temperature or time.

I also bake my shells filled side down, some people bake them filled side up sort of like the Butter Battle book by Dr. Seuss!
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:44 PM   #30
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I make a big batch of bechemel, then melt in fresh Parmesan and either Gruyere or fresh Cotija. reserve half of the sauce. Place uncooked shrinp and fake crab flakes in the other half while hot. spoon the shrimp sauce into the shells and cover with the reserved sauce. sprinkle with paprika and bake until bubbly and browned.
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