My Manicotti Adventure – part 3

So I hope you all enjoyed the videos!! Time for the actual making of the manicotti. This process took approximately 2 hours.

Make the filling:
1 lb. Ricotta per 12 crepes (my mother assures me store-brand is okay)
1 lb. Shredded Mozzarella for 36 crepes
1 egg per 12-18 crepes (depending on how heavy you want them to be)
Grated cheese, black pepper

Mix all of the filling with a big spoon.
Line up all of the crepes on the counter so that you can fill them all at the same time.
This is what that looked like in my apartment (3 different locations of crepes)…

This is what that looks like in my house at home. (This is clearly why you need a 15 foot island in the middle of your kitchen…)

(My mother might now kill me.)

Divide the filling evenly among the crepes. Place it on the lower third of the crepe and shape it like a log so that it’s easier to roll. Roll each crepe the same direction.

Grease the bottom of the pan with crisco.
Put a thin layer of heated sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Place the rolled manicotti in the dish all facing the same direction so that they’re easier to scoop out.
Coat the manicotti with sauce
Cover with tin foil in the oven to keep the heat in (do not leave any gaps) – – – I forgot this step.
Sprinkle the top with cheese.
Cook them at 350 degrees. A singular 9″x13″ pan full takes 30 minutes, adjust accordingly for more. I had 2 9″x13″ pans and a small pan for a few extras. I think I cooked mine for close to 45 minutes.

How do you know when they’re done? (this answer is verbatim)
They poof. Or you can stick your finger in the side and if it burns, it’s done.
(Oh, Italians…)
Johanna pointed out that I shouldn’t use a finger that I really need.

Good luck if you’re going to make them, they were pretty easy, but definitely took a lot of time. Maybe it’s because it was only my first time. I’ll probably just have to try again 🙂

We have a CUPID winner – Johanna!  Stay tuned for a post on the winning card.
(Granted I haven’t had time to confirm this yet, but I trust her engineering degrees.)

My Manicotti Adventure – part 2

So after I let the batter sit in the fridge for 24 hours, I decided (at 11:15pm) that it was time to fry up the shells/crepes.

Here’s the second part of the instructions –

Use a pan around 5.5”
Put very VERY little oil (only if you need to – my pan was non-stick and that was easier without it), heat it (a tiny drop of water should splash back out)
Keep stove on medium (5 or about halfway)
Add 1/8 of a cup of batter
Pour into the lower half of a tilted pan, circle-tilt pan until it covers the entire bottom and return to horizontal position
When the bottom of the crepe is brown (golden) shake the pan to loosen the crepe and turn it with a stainless spatula
Cook it very briefly on the other side

My mother told me it takes about 45 minutes to make a batch and a half. 75 minutes later I was done. These shells easily store with wax paper in between each of them wrapped in a bag in the fridge or frozen (so you can do this part ahead of time!).

So I know that the directions sound confusing, so I decided I was going to try to record a video for all of you. (My first video with words!) So I tried a few times, and I came out with two videos – one where I say something incorrect (option #1) and one where I make a crepe with a hole in it (literally only 2 out of 40 had holes in them… option #2). So I’m going to let you pick your poison.

Option #1:

Option #2:

Oh, wait. You want to know where the camera was. Resting very delicately in/on/stretched-into-the-elastic-neck-band-of the t-shirt I was wearing. Yes, I know, classy.

Also – please don’t get discouraged. My first one looked like this… oops.

Today’s CUPID Numbers are C-3 and D-51.

My Manicotti Adventure – part 1

This week I’m going to tell you all about my manicotti making experience. I found myself saying a lot throughout this process – “I’m not Italian enough for this” – and if 87.5% isn’t “Italian enough” – I’m really not sure what is (the other part is French in case you were wondering). I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with my mother as she gave me the recipe. It looked like this:

Please note that I needed a glass of wine next to me for this experience. I decided to make 1.5x the recipe. A normal batch makes between 20 and 24 crepes and I was aiming to feed 20 people, figuring that everybody would have 2 probably. (Note: I was wrong. With a group of all girls (with other food there) it is VERY possible that they will all only eat one… I ate leftovers for a while.) Anyway – here’s the breakdown.

Wednesday night – make the shell batter
Thursday night – “fry” the shells
Saturday day – stuff and bake

Here’s the first part of the recipe:

Makes 20-24 crepes:

  • 1-1/3 cup flour, sifted
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Oil for frying

Sift flour
Add milk a little bit at a time until well-blended.
Put it all in a blender.
Add eggs, salt, melted butter.
Cover in refrigerator for at least 12 hours so it goes flat.
Feel free to put it in a bowl.

 

PS. Today’s CUPID Numbers are C-2 and I-39.

Macaroni all around, pasta for all!

Hi everybody!  I think I’m finally starting to figure out this concept of making the right amount of food for a party, which, for an Italian, is a ridiculous feat.  So I wanted to share with you this simple get together that I hosted at my place with a few of the people from the residential living staff.  (We can pretend Chris’s face always looks like that.  Guess which one Chris is.)

Anyway, I made a 9″x13″ dish of baked macaroni and cheese and a 9″x13″ ziti, ricotta & mozzarella and 2 dozen cupcakes.  I was able to fit both 9″x13″ pans in the oven at the same time even!  Also – alright, so  I admit the 2 dozen cupcakes was a little bit overboard, but how are you supposed to make any less than that really?  The cupcakes were chocolate with homemade buttercream frosting.  WARNING: This is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe and if you make it you will become addicted as well.  I’m  not kidding.  Carly brought vegetables as a side dish and Laura brought some fruit for dessert.  Charles surprised me and ended up bringing pastries as well!  All in all, I made just the right amount of food so that everybody felt full and I had enough manageable leftovers for the work week.  Oh, and the extra cupcakes?  The people at work absolutely loved them, so they were pretty happy that everybody didn’t eat them.

Also, I apologize again that I forgot to take pictures when the food was done, instead I just have pictures of the leftovers.  Another fail.

For the ziti, ricotta & mozzarella recipe I used, click here.

For the cupcake recipe I used, click here.

For the buttercream frosting recipe I used, click here.

Here is the baked macaroni and cheese recipe I used (from Mommy):

8 oz. elbows (1/2 pound)*
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 slices of Velveta cheese (or 7.5 ounces)
1 cup Ritz crackers

1. Cook macaroni for 4 to 5 minutes (or until al dente)
2. Melt butter in separate large pot
3. Add flour to butter and stir until it becomes a paste
4. Add milk, salt and pepper
5. Add cheese one slice (or small piece) at a time until it’s thick
6. Butter edges of 9″x13″ pan
7. Add the macaroni to the sauce and mix together
8. Pour the macaroni and sauce in the pan
9. Mix the crumbled Ritz crackers with butter and sprinkle over the top before placing in the oven
10. Cook for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees

*I’m realizing right now as I’m writing this that I didn’t use 8 oz, I used 16 oz, which explains why there wasn’t as much sauce as I thought there was going to be.  It still tasted really good, which tells me that you don’t need to double the sauce ratio if you double the pasta ratio.  So choose your ratios accordingly.

 

Today’s CUPID numbers are: D-57 and I-45.