Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen:Manicotti with Arrabbiata Sauce

Pasta dishes make great delicious meals - I was initially going to make stuffed shells using an Arrabbiata pasta sauce, but I couldn't track down jumbo stuffed shells, thus I bought some manicotti noodles instead. This is a healthy pasta dish as well, since I used part skim milk ricotta and part skim milk mozzarella. It is important for a dish like this to use shredded mozzarella, and not the lovely homemade rounds of mozzarella that are so good to eat in other dishes. The flavors here were excellent - and the sauce, which I have refined a bit since I posted my blog post on spagetti all'arrabbiata is a winner. This was a great new pasta dish, and one that I will certainly make again.

Sasha's Manicotti Arrabbiata
1 box of manicotti
3 T olive oil
1 15oz container part-skim milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cups grated parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)
3 cans stewed tomatoes (15oz cans)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 pureed roasted red pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if desired to taste)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

To make this dish, lightly oil a 12 by 9 inch lasagna pan. Set aside. Cook the box of manicotti according to the package instructions, or about 4 to 6 minutes, in salted boiling water. They should be slightly firm when done, so be careful not to overcook them, as they will continue cooking later when you bake the dish in the oven. Drain the manicotti.

To prepare the sauce, saute the onions and garlic in the canola oil until they shimmer, about 5 minutes. Then add the pureed red pepper, and mix well. Add the stewed tomatoes and desired amount of red pepper flakes for some heat, and simmer until the sauce has the right consistency. Stir in the panko towards the end.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg yolks, parsley, mint, salt and pepper. Fill the manicotti with the cheese mixture, being careful not to tear the manicotti. Arrange the manicotti in the pan and cover with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the Arrabbiata sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake for about 30 minutes at 350.

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