I haven't posted a recipe in a long time. I guess because I've read too much Pioneer Woman I think I have to have pictures with each step in the process. Which is good, because sometimes I start jabbering on and on and by the time I'm finished, I don't even know what I've said.
I was looking through my blog pic folder to see if I could find blog fodder in between projects we've got going on here at the Sound-Man-Heathahlee-Kiddo homestead. And I found just the thing. Homemade Manicotti.
This is one of my fam's favorite recipe, right up there with Pasta Carbonara. I always get cheers when I announce we're having either one of those entrees. Now, just like The Nester says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," this recipe doesn't have to be perfect to taste wonderful. It certainly isn't restaurant looking, but oh, how it tastes! Here's the step by step process of how I make Manicotti. I will have an actual recipe you can copy and print at the bottom.
The first step is to make your "pasta." They are actually crepes (pronounced kreps) that you cook like pancakes. Mix flour, milk, eggs, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. It will be a thin batter:
While you're mixing that, let a non-stick skillet heat up and spray it with cooking spray:
It should be pretty hot, but don't burn the spray. Pour about two tablespoons of batter into hot pan (I use a scoop for this...it's so easy and the exact amount I need):
Now, you need to work fairly quickly or your crepe will set just like this, and it's too thick right here. Take a spatula and start to draw the circle out a little bit at a time:
Just lightly drag the spatula in a circular motion and you'll get the shape you want. Remember, this is not perfect...just a generally round shape is what we're wanting.
See how it's already starting to set? This has only been in the skillet for a few seconds. The more you draw the batter away from the center the thinner the crepe is, and the quicker it cooks. I know I'm making this sound harder than it is, but it's really easy!
And fill in any holes you may have. Here's what the completely set crepe will look like on top:
Flip it over just to make sure the top gets done. For literally, like, two seconds. This is what the bottom will look like when you flip it:
Now, set aside all these little sweeties (and resist putting powdered sugar on them and eating them. Resist, I tell you!) on a plate for a second to get the rest of the stuff done.
Pour half a jar of spaghetti sauce, whatever kind you like...just make sure it's about 28 ounces...in a 9 x 13 baking pan:
And please make sure your counter is as cluttered as mine when you do this. Thank you.
Next, mix your filling. An egg, ricotta cheese, Romano or Parmesan cheese (grated), and parsley.
This is what it will look like:
Now you're ready to roll up your crepes. Take one crepe, and scoop about three tablespoons of filling in the center of it:
You can put as much or as little cheese mixture as you want. I like mine cheesy, so I put a honkin' big spoonful in mine. Then, roll the crepe, covering the mixture all cozy in it's crepe blanket:
Don't bother tucking the ends or anything. When you finish rolling it, lay it and all its friends in the baking pan:
Just shove 'em all in there 'til the pan is full. Then, pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the rolls, covering them evenly. I don't have a picture of this step because I'm a ditz.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes. Take aluminum off and bake for another 20 minutes:
When you take it out of the oven, grate Romano or Parmesan cheese over the top and let its melty goodness melt all over the top. Oh, and I've since replaced my broken Pampered Chef cheese grater with another one. That I got at a garage sale for $5. Considering a new one was going to cost me over $20, I did a happy dance when I saw it. Garage sales ROCK! How's that for covering two subjects in one post, Jen?
Back to the subject at hand. It will look just like this, right before your family devours it:
I may have sprinkled mozzarella over this one. I can't remember. You can if you want to, but the Parmesan is really enough.
Trust me...this is one that is worth the trouble. It's not hard, it just takes a little time. Your family will thank you! Here's the recipe all written out:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese (I use two 15 ounce containers)
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
Place flour in a mixing bowl; whisk in milk, eggs, and salt until smooth. Pour about 2 tablespoons onto a hot greased 8-inch skillet; spread to a 5 inch circle. Cook over medium heat until set; flip for a few seconds, then set aside. For filling, combine cheeses, egg and parsley. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons down the center of each crepe; roll up. Pour half of the spaghetti sauce into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Place crepes, seam side down, over sauce; pour remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle additional cheese over top and let melt.
I totally forgot where I was going with this...I linked up to Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday post...there are SOOOO many other recipes to drool over, and Jen herself has some hilarious and fun ideas for pizza for Dad. Head on over!