Friday, December 2, 2011


Ingredients for Cheese Filling and Pasta
* 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
* 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
* 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 3/4 teaspoon table salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 16 no-boil lasagna noodles
* Use the sauce of your choice

Directions for Cheese Filling and Pasta
1.For the cheese filling, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Pour boiling water into 13 by 9-inch oven safe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.
3. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soup spoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters 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 additional sauce, making certain that the pasta is completely covered.
4. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element), and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.

We loved the pasta, but thought the sauce less than perfect, so in the future I will use our traditional sauce that I make and freeze. The pasta was fantastic, so I do suggest you give these a try, and they were really fun to make!
Next time I make these I may split them into two trays. The manicotti can be prepared and topped with sauce, 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 pasta in the refrigerator for 1 to 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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