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I won't lie, this recipe is a lot of work, high in fat and high in calories. It will take a couple hours to make and I only do it once year on my husband's birthday. All that said, it is so worth it. If you want to break you diet this is the one to do it with. My mother says she got the recipe when my father was stationed in Germany in the 70's. I don't think she even remembers the original source any longer. Of note: I have never used the chicken livers, but the original recipe does call for them. Plum tomatoes are difficult to find these days and you can substitute any canned tomato you like.
Salsa Di Pomodori
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups plum tomatoes, coarsly chopped, not drained
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1⁄4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb ground round
- 2 chicken livers (optional)
- 5 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- manicotti, cooked according to box directions
- For Salsa De Pomodori: Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook 7-8 minutes or until soft. All all remaining ingredients for sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Press through a sieve. Set aside.
- For filling: Heat oil in large frying pan. Add onion and garlic, cook until soft. Stir in spinach. Cook 3-4 minutes or until all moisture is boiled away and mixture begins to stick. Move mixture to a large bowl. Melt 1 T butter and cook livers 3-4 minutes until firm and lightly browned, but pink inside. Chop coarsly and add to spinach mixture (note as I said, I always leave this step out). Melt remaining butter and brown beef. Add to spinach mixture. Add cheese, cream, eggs and oregano to mixture. Mix and season to taste.
- For Besciamella: Melt butter in large saucepan over high heat. Reduct heat to medium and add flour. Stir constantly to form a roux. Stir for 1 minute. Pour in milk and cream stirring constantly. Return to high heat and cook, stirring constantly. When sauce boils, reduce heat and cook 2-3 minutes, until sauce is thick. Season to taste.
- To assemble: Place one cup of Salsa Di Pomodori in bottom of a sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with 2-4 tablespoons of filling. Place in pan. Cover with remaining Salsa De Pomodori. Pour evenly Besciamella over the red sauce. Bake at covered with foil in a 350 oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly.
This was really nice. You were right about it taking a long time! I used canned roma tomatoes and also ommited the liver and it was a very yummy meal. Even the kids liked it! Although when I put my six year old's serve in front of him the look on his face was as though I had given him a plate of mud for dinner, but he soon changed his attitude when he started eating, he ate the lot!! Note to anyone who might get the idea of adding some cheese to the white sauce; DONT!!! I tried this and I totally killed the sauce and had to make it again. A definete keeper, thank you :)