OK, the tomato sauce is made—now what to do with it?
On one of the first trips to my in-laws, before Lou and I were married, my mother-in-law-to-be Rita Cinquino served manicotti. I had never, ever tasted anything so good before. And as much as I loved my husband back then, I have to say the manicotti might have sealed the deal. It certainly was a major factor in my lifetime commitment to him. She served it with soft, squishy, white garlic bread too.
It’s a bit of an effort to make, but so worth it. The secret is that the manicotti shell is made like a crepe. You’ll need about 4 cups of tomato sauce to go with this recipe.
The Manicotti Shell:
1 cup flour
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
With a mixer or whisk, mix the eggs and water. Add the flour and stir with a whisk. With a ladle, pour into a small oiled skillet and make as many crepes as the batter allows (maybe about 10). Pile them on a plate; they won’t stick together.
The Manicotti Filling:
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
A few sprigs of chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Fill each crepe with some filling and roll it up (like a cigar).
Add some tomato sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer the manicotti in the pan. Add the rest of the sauce on top. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven until it’s bubbly. YUMMIFUL!
You can also freeze the manicotti separately in plastic bags to cook later in the season. I’ve got 11 in the freezer right now!