This filling is very flavorful and a sauce that's delicious, yet subtle enough to compliment the pasta without stealing the show. The recipe will allow for extra sauce in case you wish to serve non-stuffed pasta as well. Or it makes terrific leftovers.
- 2 lbs part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 3 whole eggs
- 1⁄4 cup prosciutto, diced
- 1 (8 ounce) package manicotti, 14 count
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated romano cheese or 1 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄2 cup onion, minced
- 1⁄2 cup celery, minced
- 1⁄2 cup carrot, minced
- 3⁄4 lb lean ground beef
- 3⁄4 lb ground pork
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 (28 ounce) canswhole roma tomatoes, in juice
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- I suggest making the filling a few hours ahead of time to allow the flavors of cheese, garlic and herbs to fully meld.
- Beat the eggs and combine them with the Ricotta.
- Fold in the grated cheese, basil, parsley and Prosciutto until all is well combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to use.
- Using lasagna noodle (if packaged cook to al dente) add enough stuffing on one end and roll up jelly roll style.
- Lay into baking pan that has been greased or coated with cooking spray.
- I use a 9x14" pan which perfectly holds 12 manicotti: 8 down the center and two on each side.
- Spoon the Ragu over the pasta until completely covered.
- Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
- Remove and top with the mozzarella.
- Return to the over for an additional 10 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt.
- Let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with additional sauce on the side.
- For the Bolognese Ragu (Italian Meat Sauce) You want to use a heavy pot or sauté pan for this, something that holds the heat well.
- This will give you better control when you need to have the sauce just barely simmering.
- Melt the butter in the sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the next 4 ingredients and sauté until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and pork.
- Cook the meat while using the edge of the spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.
- Just before the meat begins to brown add the milk.
- Return the mixture to a slow boil and allow to reduce until the milk has mostly evaporated.
- About 20 to 30 minutes.
- Add the wine, return to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce until the wine is mostly evaporated, another 20 to 30 minutes.
- While the sauce is reducing drain and chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice.
- When the wine has mostly evaporated add the tomatoes, along with the reserved juice, and the red pepper.
- Now you want to reduce the flame until the sauce is barely at a simmer- only a bubble or two at a time breaking the surface.
- Maintain this simmer, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
- This should take about 3 to 4 hours.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- The long, slow simmering gives the meat a melt-in-your mouth quality.
- Don't be daunted by the cooking time, as it only requires you be around to give it a stir from time-to-time.