The word ‘stuffed’ (when describing a dish,) typically conjures up visions of savory cheeses, spinach, and a variety of other delectable ingredients – delicately wrapped inside a piece of tender meat or hearty pasta. Today I made homemade manicotti shells, a la crepe-style, and stuffed them with a mixture of Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, spinach, toasted pine nuts, and crispy pancetta! (Add anything you’d like – mushrooms and/or sun-dried tomatoes would have also been tasty! Leave out the pancetta for your vegetarian friends.) A real show-stopper, especially when your guests find out you made the manicotti shells! It honestly couldn’t be easier: Make the batter, quick griddle the manicotti shells/crepes, mix up the filling – and you’re ready to roll, literally!
1.5 Cups Flour, 1.5 Cups Milk, 6 Eggs – Whisk together until smooth – drop onto lightly greased skillet or griddle – making thin crepe-style manicotti shells. They cook very quickly – maybe a minute or two with a quick flip. Remove from pan to parchment-lined sheet pan.
Spread filling in a thin layer, roll ’em, and place in a baking dish with sauce on the bottom. Top with additional sauce and cheese, and it’s ready for the oven. 375 F (Covered – 30 Minutes) Remove foil and continue baking until bubbly and golden-brown! Buon Appetito!
Simple Christmas day dinner with homemade cavatelli (compliments of Assenti Pasta in Little Italy, San Diego) and my version of a homemade arrabiatta sauce, complete with salad and garlic bread.
An arrabiatta sauce is red pasta sauce with a spicy kick! I started by browning a couple of 1/4 inch-thick slices of pancetta (small cubed) in 2-3 TBLS olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When golden brown, remove pancetta from oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1/2 diced yellow onion to hot oil and season with salt/pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until translucent. Add in 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly so not to scorch the garlic. Add in a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add back the cooked pancetta and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. While simmering, add in a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a splash of red wine. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes to your individual liking.)
Cook pasta, drain, and serve with spicy arrabiatta sauce – buon appetito!