Cheese Manicotti

We’ve made cheese manicotti several times in the past, but have yet to actually post our recipe for it, so here it goes. Continuing from the cheese saga, the vast majority of the shredded homemade mozzarella when to this. A note on shredding homemade cheese-it’s messy. It’s slimy. I put down a sheet of parchment paper before I started, and was glad that I did. For this sort of soft cheese especially, a box grater is your best friend. When you’re done shredding, it will look like it’s stuck together, but it should break apart again with some persuasion (and a fair amount of brute force).

Ingredients
1 32 oz container of ricotta (or homemade, if you have it)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (I’d recommend mostly basil, oregano and parsley)
1 tbsp dried herbs (again, I’d stay to stick with basil, oregano and parsley)
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp garlic powder (if your powder is weaker, you may need more)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
Salt
Pepper

Method
Mix filling ingredients together. If you want to check for taste, leave out the egg yolks until you’ve hit upon a mixture you like. Prepare preferred sauce (tomato, béchamel, whatever makes you happy). Cook manicotti as indicated by package. Put a small ladle of the sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish, and spread it around. Fill drained manicotti with cheese filling. You can use a spoon for this, but if you’re doing a lot of them, I’d recommend a plastic bag with one corner cut off, or a pastry bag. Lay your sleeves of filled pasta into the dish. Once the filling is completed, ladle more sauce over the sleeves to cover, but not so much that it turns into soup. Dot top of dish with butter or more parmesan, if desired. Bake, covered with foil, in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, and then uncover and bake for another 10. If you have a small tray, you may want less time, if you have a large tray, you may need more. After removing from the oven, let rest 5 minutes before eating.

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