Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baked Manicotti

This manicotti recipe is awesome! It's done a little differently than your typical manicotti recipes. The thing I enjoy the most about this recipe is that you get alot more noodle to filling ratio. Yum! Enjoy!

the goods:

tomato sauce:
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 T. EVOO
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper, optional
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil

Cheese Filling and Pasta:
3 c. part skim ricotta cheese
4 oz. grated parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (i use barilla, but i also want to try healthy harvest)
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 tsp. salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl combine ricotta, 1 c. parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and herbs; set aside.
  4. To assemble, pour 1-inch boiling water into 9x13 baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, seperating noodles with a tip of a sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in a single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry the baking dish.
  5. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soup spoon, spread 1/4 cheese mixture evenly onto the bottom 3/4 of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish, seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is covered completely.
  6. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30-40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 c. parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes before serving. ***The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw the manicotti in refridgerator for 1-2 days. To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.***

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