Bring some smiles to the dinner table.
Kathleen Alder shares her recipe for Italian
Cheesy Stuffed Manicotti.
1 lb. hamburger or ground turkey or ground pork
1 c. fresh bread crumbs (3-4 slices of bread) (can be made
in food processor or just break up by hand)
½ c. milk
1 t. salt
¼ t. black pepper or to taste
½ t. garlic flakes (or 1- 2 fresh garlic cloves diced)
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2- 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ c. water (to rinse out the cans)
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. dried sweet basil
½ large onion diced
1 t. dried garlic
½ c. diced green pepper (optional)
¼ t. ground pepper
½ t. salt
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T. snipped fresh sweet basil (optional, as it adds color
and interest to the finished product)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease a glass 9×13″ pan.
In an eight-cup measuring cup or medium bowl, mix all sauce
ingredients in the order listed. Stir until well mixed.
Spread 2 cups sauce over the bottom of the greased 9×13″
Next, in a large bowl, combine milk and bread crumbs. Let
soak together and sit for 5 min. Add salt, spices and
hamburger. Mix with hands or in a mixer. Slowly add
cheeses and mix well. Mixture should be soft and well
mixed. Load meat mixture into a gallon zippered bag and
cut a small corner off the bag. The hole should be
slightly smaller than the dried manicotti tube. (Be careful
not to cut it too big at first.) If the meat won’t squeeze
out, then cut it “slightly” larger.
Take each pasta and placing the cut off tip of the bag
inside one end, squeeze the meat mixture in one side to the
middle, then turn it around and squeeze meat into the other
end to the middle. Place each pasta as it is stuffed in
the prepared pan, on top of the sauce. There will be a
small amount of meat left after all pasta is stuffed,
squeeze some small meatballs on to parchment paper and bake
on a cookie sheet for 30 min. at 350°. Freeze for use
later with spaghetti sauce or as meatball sandwiches.
When all pasta is stuffed, pour the remaining sauce over
all. Sprinkle the two cups of cheeses and then the fresh
basil over the top, cover with foil and bake for one hour.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the cover and bake
for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese.
* Bottled pasta sauce can be used. It will take 4 cups.