Make-Ahead Homemade Manicotti
This homemade manicotti is perfect for entertaining because it can be completely made ahead. And since it's hard to find a soul who doesn't enjoy Italian food, this dish is universally well-received by guests of all ages.
I often make a double batch and freeze one pan for later. That way I have a delicious dinner at my fingertips for busy days or unexpected guests. The day before I want to serve the manicotti, I take it out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge. When dinner time rolls around the next day, all I have to do is pop the pan in a hot oven until it's bubbly and golden, make a salad and warm up some good, crusty bread.
I know, homemade pasta and easy aren't usually adjectives that are strung together. Then again, you might be a little Italian pasta maker who's got the art down pat - but for most of us, the idea of homemade pasta is a little overwhelming for everyday life. It involves special equipment, dough that can be finicky and inconsistent results, to name just a few potential problems.
This pasta has none of the above-mentioned obstacles. If you can make pancakes and you have a small non-stick pan, you can make this wonderful pasta. I had Scott take a few pictures of the process just to show you how it's done.
For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces Italian sausage
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 14 ½- ounce can fire-roasted canned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
For the pasta:
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons melted butter cooled slightly
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese I like whole milk Mozzarella
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or parsley optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese I like whole milk Mozzarella