The other night one of my closest friends came to visit. It was just the girls so I wanted to make a special dinner. When I think girls dinner I think pasta and this manicotti recipe was perfect! It appeared on one of my favorite food blogs a while ago and I have been waiting for the right opportunity to give it a whirl.I paired with this homemade caesar – I added extra anchovy paste and dijon to mine because I like my caesar to have a good kick.We spent the evening planning a friends baby shower, laughing, drinking wine and dreaming of a day that we could live next-door to each other. It was a great Tuesday night.
As I may have mentioned before, I really don’t like left overs so thinking ahead, I made individual dishes for each of us and saved the filling for dinner the next night with Jake. Manicotti fresh out of the oven two nights in a row!Manicotti with Spicy Tomato Sauce
recipe modified from 101 cookbooks
1 box manicotti noodles
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup grated mozzarella – reserve small handful for topping
1 bunch of chives, minced – reserve some for garnish
Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Prepare manicotti noodles according to instructions on the box, drain and let cool.
Prepare the sauce by, combing the olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic in the now empty pasta pot. Saute until garlic becomes fragrant – careful not to burn garlic. Add tomatoes and bring to a light simmer for about 5 minutes.
Prepare filling by, combing ricotta, egg, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until smooth, add in mozzarella, zest from 1/2 lemon, and 3/4 of the chives. Scoop into piping bag -or ziploc bag with a corner cut off- to fill pasta. Carefully fill each manicotti tube with your filling.
Oil 9×13 baking dish and zest 1/2 lemon into dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with sauce. Place a single layer of filled manicotti tubes along the bottom of the dish. Pour remaining sauce over pasta, squeeze juice of 1/2 a lemon over pasta and top with reserved mozzarella, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle remaining chives for garnish and serve.
Because I was making individual dishes I only used two manicotti tubes per serving. I piped in the filling from a ziploc bag and saved the extra filling in the bag in the refrigerator for the next night’s dinner. I prepared the pasta fresh for each night.