I like to make recipes where I can double the recipe so we can eat half that day and then freeze the other half for another day when we need a miracle to get through the day! This is one of those recipes. You can freeze the manicotti before you put the tomato sauce on it (freeze the sauce separately). If you thaw it during the day, while at work or running errands, then just pick this recipe up at the point of baking! You will be singing along with KD Lang…
Music Selection: KD Lang – Hallelujah
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz hot Italian sausage meat (casing removed)
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 large tub (500 g) ricotta cheese
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped finely
Salt/pepper to taste
1 box manicotti tubes (about 12)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (796 mL) pureed tomato sauce
7 leaves fresh basil, chopped finely
In large pot, cook beef, onion, sausage, and garlic in olive oil. When browned, add in the spinach and let wilt. Then, remove from heat and add in the basil, ricotta cheese and mix well. When cooled, mix in the egg and salt/pepper.
In large pot, make tomato sauce by sauteeing the onion and garlic in the oil. When translucent, add the tomato sauce and fresh basil. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
In a large casserole dish, spread ¼ cup of the tomato sauce. Take each manicotti tube and fill with the beef/cheese filling. Place in tight rows in the casserole dish. When you have used up all the tubes, take any left over filling and mix it into the tomato sauce. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the manicotti. Then, top the manicotti with the mozzarella cheese.
Cover the casserole dish with foil and place in pre-heat oven. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes until it is all bubbling and the pasta noodles are soft, then remove foil and let the cheese brown (you may want to broil it). Serve with extra fresh basil and parmesan cheese.