Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday's Meal

A favorite meal in our home is pasta. We love it and eat it often. This is a delicious casserole you can whip up in no time. It's a manicotti with a twist. Rather than your usual tube pasta you use store bought crepes to create filled tubes. I always think of manicotti as being meatless, however this one has a meat sauce. You could leave out the meat and it would still be excellent. You could also substitute the beef for another form of ground meat. Try it with a meatloaf mixture and it's out of this world!

Beef Manicotti

1 lb of ground beef
1 tbs of olive oil
1 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup carrots, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 cans of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (or add these spices to plain cans to your desired amount, basil, garlic, oregano)
2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp of dried rosemary
8 ready to use crepes

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a large dutch oven or pot heat oil over a medium heat. Add the celery and carrots. Cook until softened. Add the beef and salt, cooking the meat until it is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes and the marinara sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low cooking until thickened, approximately 40-45 mins. Be sure to stir occasionally so the sauce doesn't stick. While sauce is cooking, in a large bowl combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cup of cheese blend, egg, parsley and rosemary. Divide the filling among the crepes, using a generous amount to cover 1/4 of crepe about 1" from the end. Roll up from filling end and place the seam side down. When the sauce is completed, spread 1/3 of it in the bottom of a 12 X 9 " baking dish. Place 4 filled crepes on top of the sauce and cover them with a 1/3 of the sauce and then repeat the process with the remain crepes and sauce. Top with your remaining cheese. Cover with foil. Bake until hot and bubbly and cheese on top is melted, approximately 30 minutes.