Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Manicotti with Fresh Pasta

Posted by Chris Beason | Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | Category: , , , |

Years ago I would make manicotti once in a blue moon because it was so much work. Now I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't making fresh pasta be more work than just using the noodles that you stuff? Believe it or not, it is much easier to make it with fresh pasta. When I made it before, I boiled the noodles and used a spoon to stuff the filling in. Then I bought a special tool from Pampered Chef and figured out it was actually easier to use a spoon instead. Well, I haven't thought about making manicotti in years until I read Frieda's post, from Frieda Loves Bread, on making it with fresh pasta.

A while back I picked up a pasta machine at a yard sale. It looked like it had never even been taken out of the box and I think I paid less than $10 for it! I had always wanted one just because. There weren't instructions with it, but I figured I could find something on the internet and go from there. The few times I used it, I wasn't real sure how to use the thing. My pasta came out okay, but I knew something wasn't right, so it ended up as a decorative piece in my kitchen. Well, for two weeks after seeing Frieda's post, my mouth watered for manicotti. I was about to give in and buy the noodles and pull out the spoon and then something wonderful happened. Frieda did a post on how to make the fresh pasta. I scrolled down and was so excited when I saw she had the same exact machine I did!

I was trying not to hold my breath on my first try (again, the right way) coming out good, but I was very hopeful that it would. Of course, I documented everything for you in pictures.

First, I found a Basic Pasta recipe on allrecipes.com.

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons water

I mixed the flour and salt together and made a well and put my egg in it. I probably should have beat the egg, but I figured the dough hooks on my mixer would beat it and then mix it in with the flour.


After mixing with the dough hooks and adding the 2 tablespoons of water, it ended up like this.


So I decided that wasn't going to work, but I wasn't ready to give up yet so I dumped it out and decided to mix it by hand.


Much better! The recipe said to knead it for about 3 to 4 minutes. Frieda said give it a quick knead until it was smooth. I folded the dough in half and pushed with the heel of my hand, turned the dough clockwise about a quarter turn or so and folded in half again and pushed with the heel of my hand.


I did this for about 3 minutes until it was smooth.


Well, smooth-er anyway. My hand was getting tired! Frieda said to cover it in plastic and let it sit for about 30 minutes. The recipe didn't say anything about this so I listened to Frieda, but I didn't have any plastic wrap,  so I put it in a Ziplock bag and sucked the air out of it with a straw like my mother-in-law taught me to do!

I forgot to take a picture of my dough baby in the bag :) While it was sitting I made the filling for the manicotti. I made mine a little different than she did. Although, her's does sound really good. She puts pepperoni in it!

1 pound Italian seasoned ground turkey
16 ounces Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 egg

I browned the ground turkey and drained it. Do you really want to see another picture of browning meat? Well, okay.


I took this picture and thought, gosh, maybe I should just refer them to the other posts I've done where I'm browning meat. Then I went back and tried to find pictures of browning meat and there aren't any! I guess I just took pictures and didn't post them. Well, I didn't take a picture of draining the meat, but I drained it in a colander and let it sit there while I mixed up the ricotta, half of the mozzarella cheese and the egg.


Then I mixed in the meat.


Now comes the fun part. Really, it was alot more fun knowing that I was actually using my pasta machine correctly! I took my dough baby out of the ziplock bag and cut it into 3 pieces, just like Frieda said to do, and then cranked it through the machine.


This is the machine. I had no idea that the piece you don't see detached from it! Well, I got so carried away with rolling out noodles that I didn't take any pictures, but you can see Frieda's by clicking here. However, I did take a picture of the end result.


Isn't it beautiful?! I did get a little carried away and rolled it on 6, the second to the thinnest setting, so next time I'll probably stop at 4 or 5, but it still turned out great! I laid my noodles out and used a pizza cutter to cut them all the same length.


Now that all my noodles were cut, it was time to add the filling. Hindsight is always better than foresight so next time I'll roll my noodles not quite so thin and I won't cut them quite so long. Still, they were soooo good and you couldn't tell that anything was wrong. So, I scooped some filling and laid it on the edge of the noodle.


And rolled it up.


As I rolled them up, I put them in a baking dish.


I was so excited about how easy this was and how well my noodles turned out, I forgot that I should have put some sauce on the bottom of the pan. If you're trying your hand at this, make sure you put some sauce in the bottom. Just enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan will be plenty. The end result without sauce being on the bottom wasn't bad. It kind of reminded me of the texture of a toasted ravioli. Anyway, I covered the manicotti with sauce. I used Bertolli's Four Cheese Rosa.


Oh yeah, I turned the oven on 350 degrees before I started rolling up the manicotti so it was good and hot when I put it in, but first I covered the dish with foil.


After about 30 minutes, I pulled it out of the oven and sprinkled it with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.


Actually, that's my daughter sprinkling the cheese on. I'll make a cook out of her yet! Next I put it back in the oven without the foil and let it bake for about 10 more minutes.


I could have eaten it straight out of the pan! Here's a picture of hubby's plate. I don't know why, but I always use his for the photo. He always asks if it's been photographed before he'll eat it!


He said to make sure you knew it was definitely a second helping dish! I think he actually got thirds too! I know he was happy there was leftovers for lunch the next day. Oh and so my father-in-law knows, this is definitely manicotti with kick!

Currently have 6 comments:

  1. WOW. seriously impressed and delicious looking!!!

  2. Yippee!! Your version of manicotti looks GREAT! I smiled all the way while reading your post. There's nothing like a beautiful rolled sheet of pasta ~ I made a mental note to roll it at a 5 next time. I love it when a reader changes up a recipe and their family just gobbles it up!

    You made MY day! Thanks for the blog love ~

    :D

  3. Katie, it was seriously easy! Frieda, you have no idea how happy you have made me! You should have seen the first time I used it to make fettucini. I had noodles laying out straight all down my counter. I didn't know you could just put them in little bundles!

  4. Chris, I am so jealous with your pasta machine.. ha ha... except that we don't eat pasta that much, so I refrained from buying one. I was eyeballing the KitchenAid's pasta attachmnent to my mixer and decided against it.
    Your manicotti looks delish and my mouth is watering. I agree with you, fresh pasta tastes a whole lot better than the boxed one. Keep up the good work! :)

  5. I am soooo impressed by your post here! I am Italian and haven't yet ventured into the world of fresh pasta. This might have given me the push I need. I also have a Kitchen Aid and often toss about the thought of the pasta maker, but garage sale season is upon us!!!

  6. Anny, you're right fresh pasta tastes so much better than boxed! My machine is definitely going to get used more now. I'll try not to overload my blog with pasta recipes so you'll still come visit! hahaha :)

    Alison, if you find a machine, definitely check out Frieda's blog. She made it so easy for me to love my pasta machine again! By the way, if I happen to run across another one at such a good deal before you find one I'll get it and send it to you.


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