8 manicotti shells

1 pound ground beef or bulk Italian sausage

2 cups water

2 6-ounce cans tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup snipped parsley

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Dash pepper

2 beaten eggs

3 cups ricotta or cream-style cottage cheese, drained

3/4 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Cook manicotti shells in a large amount of boiling salted water about 18 minutes or till tender; drain. Rinse shells in cold water; drain. Meanwhile, in large saucepan cook ground beef or sausage till browned; drain off fat. Stir in water, tomato paste, onion, half of the parsley, garlic, basil, the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and dash pepper. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally.

In bowl combine eggs, ricotta or cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the romano or parmesan cheese, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, dash pepper, and the remaining parsley. Stuff cooked manicotti shells with cheese mixture.

Pour half of the meat mixture into a 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti in baking dish; top with remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining romano or parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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