Happy World Pasta Day! Cooks around the world and in Western New York can celebrate pasta by making their own manicotti shells and manicotti filling. You can use a good quality jarred spaghetti sauce or make your own simple marinara sauce or low and slow Sunday gravy.
Our recipes for manicotti shells and manicotti filing may look complicated, but they are very easy recipes. You will need a high-quality 8-inch non-stick pan to make the manicotti shells. The good pan is very important.
Homemade manicotti shells are very different than the dried manicotti shells you buy in a box in the supermarket. Homemade manicotti shells are more like a crepe shell, and roll up similar to a crepe, as well.
You can make the manicotti shells ahead of time, and layer each shell flat on a piece of wax paper. Stack ten to twelve manicotti shells on top of each other with the sheet of wax paper in between. Slide the stack into a heavy duty one gallon size ziplocking bag, label and date. You can either refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to three months.
The manicotti filling can also be made ahead of time, but is best if you make it right before using.
Homemade manicotti shells recipe
10 extra-large eggs
a scant 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
14 to 15 wax paper squares, approximately 6×6-inches (doesn’t have to be perfect)
Beat eggs for 2 minutes on low speed with electric mixer or for 3 minutes with balloon whisk (or the largest whisk you can find). Slowly, about 2 Tbsp. at a time, blend in sifted flour. If you have a blender, do this in the blender, it comes out very smooth.
Heat a very good 8-inch non-stick pan (if it’s not all that reliable, spray it liberally with non-stick cooking spray), on medium heat on the stove top. Once the pan has heated, remove from heat, add 4 Tbsp. of egg mixture and swirl around the pan. Return to heat and allow to set almost completely (about 1 to 2 minutes at the most). Flip ONCE, and let finish about 30 to 45 seconds at the most. Remove from pan using a rubber spatula to a square of wax paper on a cookie sheet.
Place another sheet of wax paper on top. Repeat until you have approximately 12 to 14 manicotti shells. At this point you can put them in a gallon zip locking bag, label, date and freeze for future use, or use right away.
Manicotti filling recipes usually include an egg or two, but we have found that the egg isn’t necessary, and tends to make the filling runny or watery. You may want to play with the amounts of cheese, parsley and garlic, depending on your family’s tastes.
Manicotti filling recipe
1-1/2 to 2 pounds ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim, whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped OR 3 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced OR 3 Tbsp. garlic powder
In large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, grated cheese, and eggs. Stir in garlic and parsley.
Putting together your homemade manicotti
To fill shells:
Place homemade manicotti shell on flat surface, add 1/4 cup manicotti filling to the manicotti shell. Roll up as you would crepe, folding over the 1-inch edge over the filling, then fold it over again, and then one more time to meet the other edge of the manicotti shell. Repeat until all shells are filled.
To make baked manicotti
2 jars (28 ounces each) spaghetti sauce (or your own homemade)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In a 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, add 1 to 2 cups spaghetti sauce. Add manicotti, cover with additional spaghetti sauce and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 300*F for 10 minutes, until
cheese starts to melt. Remove foil, increase temperature to 325*F and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly and slightly golden brown. Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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