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Monday, February 7, 2011

Home made Cheese Manicotti

 I told you the other day about the birthday celebration we had.  Well this is one of the food items we ate that night.  Home made Manicotti..oh so delish.  This dish is a bit time consuming and goes a bit faster if you have someone helping.  These are not made like the shells you find in the store.  The outer casing is more like a crepe.  This coming week I will be making Cannelloni which is a pasta noodle that you fill with cheese, or meat or a combo of both.

8 Eggs, divided
3 Cups Water, divided
3 Cups all-purpose Flour, divided
1 ½ Teaspoons Salt, divided

Combine four eggs, one ½ cups of water, one ½ cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in your blender container. Blend until mixture is smooth. Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl. Repeat using the remaining ingredients.
Add the new mixture to the bowl and stir together.

16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup good fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
*optional you can add 1/4 or less of asiago cheese grated*

Tomato cream sauce:
I extra large can of diced tomatoes
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion
3 TBL fresh parsley, chopped
3 TBL fresh sage, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup of good white wine (something you would drink)
1/4 cup of heavy cream
extra virgin olive oil
In a large pot heat oil, add onion and cook for about 2 -3 minutes until clear, add the garlic, cook for about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and bring to boil, turn down and simmer add the wine and cook for several hours until sauce has reduced and thicken a bit.  When you're ready to assemble, heat another skillet with olive oil, add some onions and garlic and saute, don't brown the garlic or it will get bitter...add about a cup of sauce from your pot and stir, add about 1/4 cup of white wine and simmer, you can add a bit more sauce if it's too thick.  Add the herbs and cook for 2 minutes or so then add the heavy cream and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can if you like add some red pepper flakes at this time to get a spicier sauce.  All up to you.  Spread sauce over Manicotti, cover with foil and bake.

To make crepes:
 Lightly butter a frying pan and then heat the pan for about a minute over medium  heat. Use a 1/4 cup measure and spoon batter into the middle of the hot fry pan.
Quickly and carefully tilt the pan in a circular motion until the batter forms a round, thin layer in the pan. (Similar to a crepe or a very thin pancake.)
Cook about 1 or 2 minutes until the shell surface appears dry and shiny.
Carefully turn the manicotti shell over using a spatula, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Repeat process to make approximately 24 shells.
Stack cooked shells on plate between waxed paper for use later.
You can make your tray and freeze these for up to 6 months,  just like you would do for lasagna.

To assemble, take a good amount of filling and place it in the center of the crepe, careefully roll them up and place in a baking pan that has some sauce on the bottom.
Here they are before the sauce goes on the top.  I also sprinkled a bit of mozzarella cheese over the top before topping with sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until heated through.  
The sauce on this dish is a tomato cream sauce.

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