I tape the show America's Test Kitchen on Saturday mornings. They are the same people who publish my two favorite magazines, Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country. I've never had a recipe we did not like from either the show or magazines. This past Saturday's show was Italian American classics and both recipes featured were on my I have to make this now list. I had a problem with the dish, I cut the recipe in half because I knew we'd never be able to eat the whole dish in 2-3 days. Somehow when I cut the recipe in half I must of miscalculated because my dish was not saucy like the one on the show. However that did not take away from the great taste of the dish. This had to be the easiest manicotti I've ever attempted to make. The idea of using lasagna noodles to make filling the pasta was brilliant I think. Here is a link to the recipe on their website.
2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (in juice)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or garlic pressed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Cheese filling and pasta
3 cups part skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
16 no boil lasagna noodles or you can use fresh noodles
1. For the Sauce: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse 1 can tomatoes with their juice in food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining can tomatoes.
2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasoning with salt.
3. For the cheese filling: Combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl; set aside.
4. To assemble: Pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.
5. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.
6. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element), and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.
The manicotti can be prepared through step 5, covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.