Okay, I know this is my portfolio, marketing, prosumer blog; however, I thought I’d branch it out a little into something I’m learning to love or loving to learn: cooking. I’m a vegetarian with a host of food allergies and have sometimes felt that food has been an upwards struggle throughout my life.
Last week was Jason’s 28th birthday and on Monday, I made him his favorite dish, manicotti. The following recipe is a mix from Golden Grain’s box, Jason’s mother, and my own improvisation.
8 oz large manicotti
2 cups marinara sauce*
3 cups (24 oz) ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
*Due to my food allergies, I always make my own tomato sauce. I use canned tomato sauce, which only has water, tomatoes, and salt in it. Then I add Italian seasoning, basil (fresh basil from my plant too), oregano, salt and cayenne pepper. I do it to taste, mostly with the first three herbs, and sometimes I stick other things in it as well such as rosemary or cumin. Depending on my time, I will sometimes cook it on the stove for about 15 or so minutes or cook it in a crock pot for an hour or so. It definitely helps bring out the flavor.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Do not cook pasta. It goes a lot better and is easier if pasta isn’t cooked, despite what most recipes say to do.
Pour 1 cup sauce over bottom of 13×9 inch glass baking dish.
For filling, combine everything, except rest of sauce and noodles, and mix well. Carefully fill each manicotti and arrange in a single layer on the baking dish. I found that my shrimp forks worked really well.
Pour rest of sauce on top of manicotti. Make sure to cover noodles entirely. This is how they cook. Any noodles not covered can burn or will stay hard.
Cover tightly and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese. Cook for about 10 more minutes. It’s very hot when it comes out the oven so don’t let the deliciousness burn your tongue.
Manicotti is very filling, and I’m sure this cheese extravaganza is not the most healthy dish I’ve made. Despite that, Jason and I both had two empty plates.