Saturday, April 5, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Manicotti with Sausage Filling

Easter is coming.
The family will be getting together.
They'll be at the table, expecting lots of food.
Time to plan a big family menu.

One of the tricks Ma used to make the main dish go further when the family gathered was to serve a pasta course first.

Ma always had homemade stuffed shells in the freezer.
Another old favourite was manicotti.

I had posted Carmela’s recipe for manicotti a while ago.
Here’s Ma’s version of manicotti. 
It’s a little different from when Ma used the shell filling.
Make both.  
If they fill up on the manicotti, there’ll be more turkey left over for sandwiches.

Hints:

New at stuffing tubes?  
It’s easier to cram a bit in from each end.
You can either use a spoon, or place the filling in a plastic bag.  
Using scissors, cut a corner from the bottom of the bag. 
Fill by squeezing the filling mixture into both ends of each tube.

You can also prepare stuffed manicotti in advance and freeze.
If you're in a cooking frenzy, make extra for another dinner.
For frozen stuffed manicotti, an hour in a 350º oven usually did the trick.


                        Manicotti 

Have on hand 
2 Cups tomato sauce, minimum

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
Over high heat bring the water to a boil.
Add 
salt to taste
Add
225 grams manicotti tubes
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked but slightly chewy.
Drain the tubes and rinse with cold water.


For Filling

In a large skillet place
1 pound crumbled sausage meat (or ground beef or pork or both)
1 small onion, chopped
Fry over medium heat until the meat is cooked.
Remove from heat and drain excess fat.
Add
1 1/2 Cups ricotta 
1/2 Cup chopped fresh basil  (or 2 Tablespoons dried, more or less)
1/4 Cup shredded Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Mix well.

Preheat oven 350º

Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
Carefully stuff the manicotti tubes and place them in the baking pan.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the tubes.
Sprinkle with
4 ounces mozzarella, chopped or shredded 
1/2 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Bake 30 to 45 minutes, until the manicotti is heated through.
Serve hot with 
grated Romano or Parmesan cheese available

Serve some crusty bread on the side to sop up the sauce...
…and to stretch out that first course.

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