September 10, 2009

Baked Manicotti in Ragu alla Bolognese

Baked Manicotti in Ragu alla Bolognese

Makes: 12 manicotti

Created by The MDM Team, Sunday, December 16, 2007
Manicotti fans will most certainly give this palate-pleasing pasta dish a thumbs up. It's the stuff that Italian food dreams are made of.

2 lb. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 whole eggs
1/4 cup Prosciutto, diced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. manicotti, 14 count
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup carrots, minced
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
2 cups whole milk
2 cups dry white wine
2 (28 oz.) cans whole Roma tomatoes, in juice
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Beat the eggs and combine them with the Ricotta. Fold in the grated cheese, basil, parsley and Prosciutto until all is well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to use. Using lasagna noodle (if packaged cook to al dente) add enough stuffing on one end and roll up jellyroll style. Lay into baking pan that has been greased or coated with cooking spray. Use a 9x14" pan which perfectly holds 12 manicotti: 8 down the center and two on each side. Spoon the Ragu over the pasta until completely covered. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Remove and top with the mozzarella. Return to the over for an additional 10 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side. For the Bolognese Ragu (Italian Meat Sauce) you want to use a heavy pot or Sauté pan for this, something that holds the heat well. This will give you better control when you need to have the sauce just barely simmering. Melt the butter in the Sauté pan over medium heat. Add the next 4 ingredients and Sauté until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and pork. Cook the meat while using the edge of the spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Just before the meat begins to brown add the milk. Return the mixture to a slow boil and allow reducing until the milk has mostly evaporated. About 20 to 30 minutes. Add the wine, return to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce until the wine is mostly evaporated, another 20 to 30 minutes. While the sauce is reducing drain and chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice. When the wine has mostly evaporated add the tomatoes, along with the reserved juice, and the red pepper. Now you want to reduce the flame until the sauce is barely at a simmer- only a bubble or two at a time breaking the surface. Maintain this simmer, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the liquid is mostly evaporated. This should take about 3 to 4 hours. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. The long, slow simmering gives the meat a melt-in-your mouth quality. Don't be daunted by the cooking time, as it only requires you be around to give it a stir from time-to-time.
Additional Tips
30 min prep 3-4 hours cooking time

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