No matter where they are from, every family has a handful of meals that are considered a tradition and that they always make for special occasions. On they Italian side of my family, manicotti is one of those dishes.
My husband and I are currently working on a special video project for my grandparent’s upcoming 60th wedding anniversary. We’ve been looking at hundreds and hundreds of pictures and I swear, at least 70% of them involve everyone sitting around the table eating homemade Italian food. It’s like, “Oh look, there we all are eating again!” Looking at these pictures has reminded me how much I miss those family dinners. So many of us have moved all over the country now. I miss those big, loud, and obnoxious dinners. Although we may not all live near each other anymore, I am thankful that I have these special recipes to continue making with my own little family!
We typically reserve homemade manicotti or pasta for holidays or other special occasions since they can be a bit time consuming to make. If you have never tried making homemade manicotti, I have to tell you that you are seriously missing out! The shells are essentially a thin crepe. There is no comparison to the boxed shells. Making your own shells is worth every second because you end up with perfectly delicate and soft shells stuffed with cheesy goodness!
Here’s a shell in the making!
I make one at a time which means it can take a while depending on how many you need to make, so put on some good music or pop in your favorite movie and listen while you work! You can make the shells in advance which I often take advantage of if I am making shells for more than just my husband and myself. The shells actually freeze wonderfully! I will say that this dish does not photography well, but after a coupe of attempts to re-shoot it for Flashback Friday, I just don’t care because this dish is too good to wait any longer to share it again!
For the shells:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling and manicotti:
- 1/2 lb. ricotta cheese
- 2 handfuls of parmesan and/or romano cheese lus more for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 lb. shredded mozarella cheese
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper
- handful of finely chopped parsley
- tomato sauce
For the shells:
- In a bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add flour and mix. Batter will resemble a pancake batter that is thin enough to be poured into a pan. If your batter seems thick, add more milk. If it seems thin, add flour. It is okay if your batter has some lumps from the flour. Set aside.
- Using a non-stick pan that is approximately 6-7 inches in diameter, heat pan on medium heat. When pan is heated, add a small pat of butter. Use a heat resistant brush to spread butter evenly around the pan.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the heated and buttered pan. Pick up the pan and swirl the batter around the pan so that it covers the pan. You have to move quickly with this step as you want to do this before the shells cooks! As you continue to cook each shell, you may find that your pan is getting too hot. If this is the case, remove pan from heat and wipe with a damp cloth in between each shell. You can also lower the heat.
- Cook the shell for approximately 2-3 minutes and then using a fork, gently turn the shell over and cook it on the other side for another 2 minutes or so. Once the shell turns a light golden brown on each side, it is done! You can turn it back to the other side again if needed. Remove the shell from the pan and place onto some wax paper to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
For the filling and manicotti:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine cheeses. Fold in eggs. Add in about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Mix in parsley.
- In a baking dish, coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce of your choice. One shell at at time, add about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the middle of the shell. Then roll the shell around the cheese mixture. Put the filled shells into the baking dish seam-side down. Once you are done, top the shells with more sauce and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese!
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving! Then, Manga!
If you decide to make the shells in advance and freeze or store them in the fridge, make sure you warm them before rolling. If they are cold, they will crack when you try to roll them up.
Serving Size:2 manicotti
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 812mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g