Saturday, 10 March 2012

Special Stuffed Manicotti

Here is a simple but delicious recipe for a different pasta - Manicotti.

What you need:
300 gr lean ground beef                 2 ribs celery - minced                     1/2 med onion, minced
2-3   cloves garlic - minced           1 small green pepper - diced         1 cup shredded romano cheese
1 can (796 ml) crushed tomatoes    1 can (540 ml) spicy red pepper diced tomatoes - divided
 1 tsp each  oregano and basil        1 package manicotti noodles         salt and pepper to taste.

In a heavy skillet, brown meat until completely cooked. Add onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, and herbs. Cook over  medium heat until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. At this stage, the mixture can be put in the fridge until the next day.
Open can of spicy red pepper diced tomatoes. Use a slotted spoon to add about 1/2 a cup to the meat mixture. Pour the remaining tomato mix with all the juice into a mixing bowl. Add all the crushed tomatoes, and mix well. You can use a little water to clean out the cans.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook manicotti noodes according to package directions.
When the meat mixture is cooled enough to not melt the cheese, add the shredded romano and mix well. You can add salt and pepper to taste.  
When pasta is cooked, drain and cover with cold water to make it easier to handle.
Prepare a baking pan by greasing or using cooking spray. A good size is 8x10 or 9x13 - I use a ceramic lasagna pan or a corning ware dish, as metal can add an unpleasant taste to tomato based dishes.   Pour about 1 cup of the tomato sauce into  the prepared dish.  Stuff each noodle with the cooled meat mixture, and lay in the dish in a single layer. If some of your noodles broke open, just place a measure of stuffing in the centre of the pasta square, and roll up as for canneloni. Pour remaining tomato sauce over all the stuffed noodles. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 40 minutes at 350 F. Place under broiler for 3 - 4 minutes at the end of the baking time.
Serve hot with extra cheese, salad and garlic toast.  I hope you enjoy.

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