Sometimes I ask the family what they want to eat and they come up with old school dishes from back in the 80s. So here we go…manicotti.
Meanwhile, I made a sauce, I started by sautéing three cloves of garlic that were smashed but not crushed in extra-virgin olive oil. Then remove the garlic and use a can of good quality whole or crushed Italian tomatoes. Let that cook on medium to medium low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, then let it cool. In another pot, sauté onion and garlic then brown the ground beef. You can also use an Italian sausage or a blend of meats.
If there’s a lot of fat you’ll need to drain this out, then you can add it to the marinara sauce, be sure to reserve some if you have vegetarians coming over.
So here I’ve made ‘vegetarian’ manicotti. Just carefully stuff the shell with the cheese mixture, lay down some marinara sauce at the bottom and then on top and then use mozzarella and parmesan on the very top. I also add more spices to the top, especially some heat like cayenne pepper.
I made more than one portion, so I could share with two other households. Usually 2 to 3 shells are enough per person. I usually cover them with foil then bake at about 350 for about 20 to 30 minutes. It can also be put in the microwave, because everything is fully cooked.
1 box of manicotti pasta, cooked
About 15 oz of ricotta cheese
1-2 cups of mozzarella, shredded
1 cup of parmigiana, finely grated
1 lb ground beef (or mix of meats, or Italian sausage)
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
Large tin of whole Italian tomatoes
Himalayan sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground habanero or cayenne pepper, dried oregano, or fresh basil