Manicotti with Tomato Sauce, Beef, and Cheese

With our last two boxes of manicotti shells, Whitney and I have alternated between a spinach and a meat preparation. The shells had been sitting for a while, so we decided it was finally time to finish the box, and keeping with tradition, to do it on Valentine's day.

Way back in the day, we watched a few episodes of Giuliana and Bill together, and in one episode she cooks cannelloni; it looked like fun, and was our original inspiration for trying manicotti. I found the (supposed) recipe online somewhere, and that's what we tried here. It was good, but not outstanding - I think I generally prefer the spinach version.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped basil
1 ½ teaspoons salt divided
2 teaspoons ground black pepper divided
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 (16-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 (8-ounce) box cannelloni shells, cooked according to package directions.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, basil, 1-teaspoon salt, 1-teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-½ quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine ground beef, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ½ teaspoon pepper, and 4 tablespoons of the sauce mixture. Stuff cannelloni with the meat mixture, and place in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese evenly over sauce. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffing shells is so much fun
Fresh out of the oven!
Plated on Whitney's beautiful new occupied Japan china
Because we didn't use the whole box of shells, we had some leftover sauce and filling that we threw together into a lasagna on another night. It was tasty but a little sloppy - guess the missing ingredient!

1 comment:

  1. You amaze me how you are always trying something new. The plates are very pretty. Granny is so glad you are using and enjoying them.