Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

Welcome to the Monday after the Super Bowl. Did you know it’s actually a designated National Day? Yep, it’s Football Hangover Day. I’m not sure what that means, since we don’t get drunkenly stupid on Super Bowl Sunday.

Alrighty then; moving right along . . . today (February 13) is also National Cheddar Cheese Day. While I love Cheddar Cheese, especially Irish Cheddar, there are so many other cheeses to celebrate – such as Mozzarella and Parmesan and Ricotta. Which brings me to yet another National Day. Now depending upon which calendar you follow, it’s either National Tortellini Day or National Italian Food Day. While one is specific (Tortellini) the other allows us to embrace all things Italian flowing from our kitchens. Now I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of a broader selection brush.

Originally, this recipe was intended to be made using Jumbo Pasta Shells. When the time came to make Stuffed Shells in a Beefy Tomato Sauce, we discovered that Jumbo Shells were in short supply. There were plenty of medium and small shells to be had, but no Jumbo Shells. We even postponed the recipe on our weekly planner, opting for another Italian Favorite – Spaghetti. In the hopes of finding the Jumbo Shells, we went to several different mega markets and even a few specialty shops in our area.

No such luck. To the internet we went. I ordered some shells to be shipped to me. Two problems. First, while the shells were large, they were hardly jumbo. And some were broken, not surviving the journey. Rather than give up completely, I went in another direction – Manicotti. I just wish Manicotti were easier to stuff. Hum, there must be a tool out there somewhere. But that’s a post for another day . . . Today we celebrate Italian Food Day. Enjoy!

Cheese Stuffed Manicotti in Beefy Tomato Sauce
7 Manicotti Shells
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Clove
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/4 lb Ground Pork
1/2 cup Hot Water
1/2 cup Beef Stock
6 oz Tomato Paste
3/4 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook Pasta according to directions. Drain, and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, cut onion from root to tip. Reserve half for another purpose. Peel and dice remaining onion, set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, beef stock, tomato paste and oregano. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350.

Combine egg, Ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Stuff shells with cheese mixture. Arrange shells in a greased casserole dish.

Pour meat sauce over shells. Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer.

Great with a simple salad, warm bread and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Simple Italian Salad
1/2 bag Italian Salad
2 Green Onions
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
Dressing as desired
Croutons as desired

Empty bagged salad into a chilled bowl. Slice green onions, scatter over the salad. Add tomatoes, toss.

Serve with dressing of choice and croutons as desired.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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