Baked Manicotti

From Cook’s Illustrated

Has Kim tried this? No

This recipe can be prepared through step 5, covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1.25 hours.

You can also add sausage or ground beef or any other meat to the sauce in step 2.

Tomato Sauce

2 (28-oz) cans diced tomatoes in juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Table salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

Cheese Filling and Pasta

3 c part-skim ricotta cheese

4 oz grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)

8 oz mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves

2 tbsp fresh basil leaves

16 no-boil lasagna noodles

1. FOR THE SAUCE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse 1 can tomatoes in food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with other can tomatoes.

2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasoning with salt.

3. FOR THE CHEESE FILLING: Combine ricotta, 1 c Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl. Set aside.

4. TO ASSEMBLE: Pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 x 9 inch broilersafe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.

5. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 c sauce. Using soup spoon, spread 1/4 c cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.

6. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then rekmove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 c Parmesan. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.

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