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Old 04-29-2012, 06:02 AM   #1
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Homemade Manicotti di Sicilia

Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,

I have been making Manicotti since my university days back in Greenwich Village, Manhattan and here is our family favorite, from the legacy of Italian recipes from the kitchen of my Grandmom Margherite.

Note: I use homemade Pasta sheets and roll my own Manicotti

Manicotti ...

For the Marinara Sauce:

2 pounds of red slightly over ripe plum shaped red tomatoes peeled and de-seeded

2 tblsps. Evoo
3 large garlic cloves minced
6 ounces of Jar Italian Tomato Paste
5 fresh basil leaves cut julienne
1 tsp salt
a pinch of sugar ( less than a packet )

For the Filling:

1 1/2 cups whole Ricotta

1 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Sardo ( Sardinian ) or Reggiano Parmesano from Parma, Emilia Romagna or Pecorino Romano ( Lombardia or Piemonte )

2 eggs to combine

*** Optional for Dietary Reasoning: Proscuitto di Parma or Sausage or Baked Ham

2 tblsps. minced fresh Italian flat parsley

6 ounces of Buffala di Mozzarella or Cow Mozzarella: cut into strips of 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch by 3 Inches

5 fresh basil leaves

Additional Pecorino or Parmesano

*** For the Sauce ...

1. Chop the tomatoes and put in the Food Processor or similar
2. heat the Evoo in heavy medium sauce pan
3. add the garlic and cook until tender, however do NOT brown; for 1 1/2 minutes
4. stir in tomato paste and then, the tomatoes, salt and fresh basil
5. simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally 30 mins. Set aside.

*** Optional: one can use a Ragù Bolognese Sauce or Add Turkey or Pork Sausage to the Marinara if they wish.

*** For the Filling ...

1. COMBINE the Ricotta in medium bowl until smooth & creamy
2. mix in 1 cup of Pecorino or Parmesano, the eggs and minced parsley. One can add in dried spices if they wish ( oregano, basil, parsley & thyme )

3. Preheat oven 375 farenheit degrees

4. spoon into the manicotti ( if using dry Barilla ) and / or:

Spread the filling on each of the homemade pasta sheets by placing 1 Mozzarella strip over filling and then, roll wrap the manicotti logs

5. arrange seam side down in large baking dish on bed of Marinara Sauce

6. Repeat the process with remaining filling and manicotti sheets

7. cover the manicotti rolls with the sauce and then, place more cheese mixture for the finale

8. Stir whole basil leaves into the sauce

9. pour sauce over the manicotti rolls and sprinkle lightly with additional cheese and cover tightly with foil

10. bake until heated through covered

11. for the last 2 to 3 minutes, bake without the aluminum foil

Enjoy,
Have a lovely Sunday.
Margi. Cintrano.

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Old 04-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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Good day to you too Margi,

“4. spoon into the manicotti ( if using dry Barilla )…”

A question, please. Does one cook the Manicotti pasta before filling them, or are they filled dry and then cooked in the sauce. I have eaten manicotti, but never made this as a dish. I know there are recipes for lasagna where the pasta is not cooked first, and I think there are even lasagna sheets that are sold specially to be not cooked when making layers, although regular lasagna sheets work just fine dry or pre cooked. I think we have always cooked that pasta first. There is another pasta, very large sea shell shape meant to contain a similar filling as the manicotti. When I have attempted to make this, the pasta sometimes broke before getting them arranged in a baking pan. Perhaps I overcooked the pasta . Certainly NOT because I was greedy and overfilled the shells LOL>

Does one use some type of Piping Bag to fill the manicottis. Or do you just spoon it in some way??

One could make fresh pasta sheets, and then I wouldn’t have these questions ! The only pasta I have ever made was for ravioli, and that pasta turned out to be too thick. I should practice this skill more.

Manicotti looks like an enjoyable pasta dish to serve. Both the Marinara sauce and ricotta filling look delicious. Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:33 AM   #3
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Good Afternoon Whiskadoodle,

I hope this shall answer your question(s);

1) Yes, one needs to boil the Manicotti Barilla dry variety and then let cool to room temperature before filling or they might fall apart. I place in cold water prior to filling. I also place in refrig before baking to chill a few hours, so they do not fall apart in baking process. Just like Lasagne.
2) I normally prepare my own manicotti sheets, can use lasagne sheet recipe for homemade. Just roll and they will seal.
3) Yes, a piping bag or icing bag works. However, you can also use a very tiny espresso spoon too.

Yes, This is heaven on earth and versatile with fillings, spinach and ricotta or prepare with Proscuitto di Parma or baked ham !

Kind regards.
Margi.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
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If you don't make your own macaroni sheets, you can still roll your own by using par-boiled lasagna sheets, preferably the flat ones without curly edges. My Sicilian family always called this Cannelloni. Manicotti was reserved for the preformed dry macaroni tubes which we par-boiled, filled using a pastry bag, then baked covered with sauce.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:52 PM   #5
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I have used the Barilla preformed tubes, as well. I slit them down one side add filling then roll together to reform a tube. Place seam side down and bake as usual. They stay together, and are much easier to fill.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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Sir Lion of Beef,

Good Evening. I have never used par boiled lasagne sheets. I have no access to them here in Madrid Capital, which is why I had started making my own Pastas.

Now, I am able to get Barilla due to the fairly large Italian Community.

Manicotti is a wonderful baked pasta dish, and we truly enjoy it as well as our montly Emilia Romagna Ragú Bolognese Lasagne.

Today, we had spinach, mushroom lasagne home made from scratch with Besciamella.

Thanks for posting.
Margi.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:13 PM   #7
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@ Lyndalou,

Cool suggestion. Thanks alot.

Have lovely Sunday.
Margi.
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