Monday, June 30, 2008
Since I freeze leftovers on a regular basis, I am careful to keep track of when something is in danger of "expiring." A look around the freezer shelves revealed 3/4 package of fresh pasta sheets and a large container of "Sunday gravy." The refrigerator held a 2 pound container of ricotta that I had bought for a Father's Day party we couldn't attend, so the short ribs would wait for another day.
I love fresh pasta sheets. Even though we used to make our own crepe-like manicotti shells and the taste was wonderful, nothing beats the texture of this pasta. I happen to prefer manicotti over lasagna even with the ease of the no cook sheets. I like the way the filling sets up--more like ravioli. The recipe for the filling is very simple. You can top these with your own sauce or use one of my recipes. With the manicotti, I served a simple salad with a wonderful balsamic dressing, a new recipe that I tried for the first time. Buon appetito!
Manicotti - Makes 16
8 fresh pasta sheets, cut in half
1 1/2 lb whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup whole milk shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Lay the cut pasta sheets on waxed paper. Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl until well blended. Place 2 heaping spoonsful in the middle of each sheet. Gently roll, leaving seam on bottom. Cover the bottom of a 9X13 inch casserole dish with sauce. Place 10-12 manicotti in this dish. Cover the bottom of a second, smaller casserole dish with sauce for the remaining manicotti. Cover the manicotti with sauce and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese. Cover each dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Balsamic Dressing (from Sale, Pepe, Amore & Fantasia by Marcello Russodivito)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
12 tbs extra virgin olive oil