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
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
Have a lovely Sunday.