Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade Manicotti

My brother, Tommy made everything fun and Birthdays were no exception. There wasn't a year that went by that he didn't sing "Happy Birthday" to me. Even when I moved to New Jersey, he made sure to call and deliver his song by phone. Tommy was really one of a kind. He could put a smile on any one's face from the littlest child to the guy that ran the neighborhood fish store. That was his special gift.

Getting back to Birthdays...his favorite Birthday dinner was homemade Manicotti and my sister-in-law Joanie was always willing to prepare it for him.

It's so easy to just go out and buy them already made, but nothing tastes better than homemade. If you can make pancakes, you can make Manicotti crepes. It might take a little practice at first. The trick is to make them thin and cook over low heat so that they cook but don't brown. You can even make the crepes, put wax paper between them and freeze them until your ready to fill them.

Manicotti Crepes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, blending and stirring until you have a smooth batter. Place a small 6" cast iron or non-stick skillet over moderate heat. (I like to wipe it down lightly with a paper towel sprinkled with vegetable oil.) Ladle out 1/4 cup batter into the heated pan, and swirl to cover the bottom. The crepe should set almost instantly. As soon as the edges begin to dry and pull away from the pan, remove the crepe (this can be done with the fingers) and turn it over allowing the other side to cook quickly. This should only take seconds.

Manicotti Filling
  • 1 lb of whole milk Ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbs chopped parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
Mix the ingredients together. Spread two tablespoons of the filling down the center of each crepe and roll into a tube shape. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with your favorite marinara sauce, place the filled Manicotti seam side down into the baking pan. Continue doing that till the pan is full. Based on what size pan you use, that will determine how many you can get in the pan.

  • 1 qt marinara sauce, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Cover manicotti with marinara sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. When done, you can uncover the pan, sprinkle with the additional 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Makes 12 manicotti.
Enjoy!!! You can also double this recipe.

***I'd like to make this recipe a tribute to my brother, Tom***
He would have turned 70 years old on October 22.
He now makes the angels smile.

Happy Birthday to you, brother!

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