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Prep 45 mins
Cook 30 mins
This recipe is inspired by a dish called "Malfatti" in Napa, California. If you have spent any time there you know about carrying your serving dish down to the back door of the Depot. (sadly, now closed). There you would wait in the back room of the kitchen for a few dozen Malfatti served in the best marinara sauce. Such a treat! We never considered Malfatti a mistake, and neither was this recipe. It isn't really much like Malfatti, but we can't help but be reminded of it by the flavor here! MMMMhhh!
- 1 lb ground round
- 3⁄4 lb mild Italian sausage
- 8 ounces manicotti
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
- 3 crushed garlic cloves or 3 minced garlic cloves
- 6 ounces red wine
- 2 teaspoons tarragon
- 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
- 12 -16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 7 ounces water
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese
- Brown the ground round and lightly rinse with hot water. Set aside. Brown the mild Italian Sausage and rinse in the same way.
- Place both meats into a food processor and process until fine and uniform.
- Take 1/3 of the meat mixture and place into the crockpot. Add all of the ingredients except for the ricotta, 1 tsp of Italian seasonings and 1 teaspoon of tarragon to the meat in the Crockpot. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.
- Take the remaining 2/3 of the meat mixture and mix the 12 oz to 16 oz of ricotta, 1 teaspoons of Italian seasonings and 1 teaspoons tarragon. Mix well. Place into the fridge until sauce is nearly done.
- When sauce is nearly finished and when preparing to assemble:.
- Remove meat and ricotta mixture from refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes, stir and place into a zip lock bag. Work meat and ricotta until nearly room temperature.
- Bring appropriate amount of water to a boil and cook manicotti to product specs. but just until the pasta is uniformly softened, but not completely cooked. If over cooked the shells will tear when trying to stuff. Put about 1/2 " of sauce into the bottom of a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
- Then snip a bottom corner from the bag with meat mixture, approximately 1/2 " in diameter.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the snipped end of the bag into one end of a cooked manicotti shell and squeeze the mixture into the shell until it is full but not splitting. If it splits just place split side down into pan and go on to the next. It takes some time to make this a technique.
- Place the cooked Manicotti staggered into the dish.
- Cover with more of the sauce to your liking.
- Cover with the Parmesan or save the Parmesan until serving and use as a garnish.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve with a green salad and sour dough bread, topped with butter and minced garlic and broiled .