Makes 12 manicotti, serving 6

Notes

Manicotti are delicious and provide an easy way to enjoy the textures of stuffed fresh pasta baked in sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (1/2 batch) pasta dough
  • Salt for pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, for the baking pan
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • 1 cup shredded Muenster cheese
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Directions

Prepare either the spinach or asparagus filling, as instructed below, before rolling and cooking the manicotti squares.

 

Rolling and Cooking the Manicotti

Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Following the master method, roll each piece until you have 2 strips, each about 30-inches long and 5-inches wide. Cut the strips into a dozen roughly 5-inch squares; lay them flat (not touching) on lightly floured towels.

Cook the squares, 6 at a time, in a pot of boiling salted water for 1-1/2 minutes. Lift them out and lay them flat on damp towels. They may have stretched in cooking; if so, trim them to no more than 6 inches on a side before filling them.

 

Filling and Baking the Manicotti

Butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Place 1/3 cup of the filling on one edge of a pasta square (the side that most needs to be hidden). Shape the filling into an even mound along the edge and roll up the square, snugly enclosing the filling.

Place the roll in the pan, seam side down. Fill and roll all the manicotti and arrange them, without touching, in the pan. Spoon the remainder of the tomato sauce over, sprinkle on the shredded Muenster and then the grated cheese.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the pasta has started to crisp under the melted cheese. Remove the foil and bake another 4 or 5 minutes to give the top a deep golden color.

 

Asparagus Filling

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

7 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

1 cup scallions, trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound (2 cups) ricotta, fresh or packaged

1 egg

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

 

Pour the oil into a medium skillet, stir in the sliced asparagus and scallions, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook about three minutes over medium heat until the asparagus is soft but not browned the and scallions are wilted. Let cool briefly.

Stir together the ricotta and egg and the grated cheese until smooth. Stir in the wilted vegetables, scraping the pan to include the oil, and fold together with the pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until evenly blended.

 

Spinach Filling

1 pound (2 cups) ricotta, fresh or packaged

1 egg

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

20 ounces fresh spinach, cooked and drained, squeezed dry and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon (sea) salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Stir together the ricotta, egg, and grated cheese until smooth. Fold in the chopped cooked spinach, melted butter, and seasonings until evenly blended.

 

Lidia’s Family Table

Cookbook

Lidia’s Family Table

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