Homemade Manicotti

This recipe came from a reader of the Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. I found it in my stack of “recipes I want to try”. I love Italian food and I wish I was better at making it. I can do the typical Chicken Parmesan (keep an eye out for a new twist on that dish coming soon!), but I rarely make anything else Italian-style. So when I found this recipe I thought, why not?

First let me say that I did not use jarred meat sauce. I just can’t do it. I always make my own meat sauce using ground chicken or turkey, add it to a good jarred red sauce, and then tweak it with basil and garlic. Other than that I followed this recipe ALMOST EXACTLY! Can you believe it? Impressive, I know.

This looked so yummy, and it smelled fantastic! We couldn't wait to dig in!

Three-Cheese Manicotti

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 grated romano cheese

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn’t have fresh so I used 1 T. dried parsley)

2 tablespoons milk

3 large eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups store-bought meat sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup romano, the parsley and the milk.

2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 cup water. Whisk in the flour.

3. Heat a greased 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Ladle 3 T. batter into the skillet, swirling to cover the surface of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, flip and cook for 1 minute more. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the skillet after each crepe. Stack the crepes on a plate.

4. Spread half of the meat sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spoon the cheese mixture down the center of each crepe. Roll closed, arrange in the baking dish. Top with the remaining meat sauce and cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes.

I have to admit that 3 tablespoons of batter was really hard to get spread out in the skillet. I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup, so I don’t know if my crepes were a little thicker than intended, but I still got them pretty thin and the dish did not suffer at all. I used the canned olive oil spray between each crepe. I also stuffed it all into a 8 x 8 pan, leaving me two crepes and a little cheese mixture leftover. I didn’t mind because between the 3 of us we only ate half the pan, and my first two crepes weren’t all that great anyway.

This was delicious! The boys loved it, too, and I will definitely make it again- especially since Cory missed it and will want to try it. I was surprised about the crepes. It really had that pasta feel and taste to it, but I suppose the ingredients in pasta aren’t that much different. I tried once, forever ago, to stuff meat and cheese into big, long, manicotti like pasta shells that you can buy at the store. Total disaster and very messy. We managed to get a meal out of it but I knew I’d never attempt that chaos again. But this recipe I will definitely make again. It was very easy and if you like Italian this is sure to be a winner in your house, too!

Look for post #2 today: Kitchen Efficiency

*Please keep Cory in your prayers as he is traveling home today from his mission trip in South Africa.

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