Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unexpected dinner guests

Last night I tried a recipe from the Food Network for dinner. It was Beef and Cheese Manicotti. I have never actually made manicotti but I love it and often order it when we got to an Italian restaurant. My ex used to make it when we were married. He began doing the cooking because I worked days and he worked graveyard and it was easier for him to have dinner ready when I got home than to wait for me to fix it. Anyway, my current hubby is a bit of a picky eater and when he asked what we were having for dinner and I told him he made a terrible face and acted like I was poisoning him. I had made an entire box of the stuff and figured if he didn't like it I would be eating it for the next week myself.

He needed to go into town to buy something for his woodturning project in the garage and on his way he stopped by our neighbors' house. They were outside and he invited them to dinner since they hadn't planned anything yet. They declined since I didn't know about it. When he got home he told me he had invited them and I said, "Oh good, are they coming?" He said they had said no and I immediately called them and said dinner was ready and they were expected to be here. They came up and it turned out delicious. And even hubby liked it. I was so glad. Here is the recipe if you want to try it:

Beef and Cheese Manicotti
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
hr min
Cook Time:
40 min
6 servings

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.
Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

I hope you enjoy it too. I wish I had taken a picture of it when it was finished. It looked as good as it tasted...........

After dinner we played WII bowling. I won the second game.


Ronda said...

That looks awesome! I am going to have to try it. Maybe have some nieces/nephews over. Being a single gal I don't make alot of extra food, it goes bad before I can get it all eaten now! Didn't use to though! (Before the band!)

Dutch said...

I love stuffed manicotti. I made it once years ago and stuffed it with spinach and cheese. I like watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network channel. Her recipes look so easy and delicious. That was nice of you to invite the neighbors over and share that great meal you made. Have a terrific Thursday. Hugs

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That looks yummy for sure. How nice to have company come over and stay awhile for a game too. I love unplanned evenings like that.
'On Ya'-ma

Sandra said...

that sure sounds good! i bet the neighbors enjoyed their evening too

Anonymous said...

That looks really good! Maybe I can cut the recipe down, my husband and I waste a lot of leftovers these days!

Andrea said...

Looks great!! I love manicotti! Thanks for sharing...glad you won a game of Wii bowling. :)

Kathy said...

I know what you mean about wasting leftovers. That is why I insisted on our neighbors coming over. I may wrap up the leftovers and freeze them for another day.

Pam said...

I love manicotti and Giada is one of my favorites, so I can't wait to try this.

Jody V said...

Sounds great Kathy! I copied this one down. I love Giada. Imagine that...hubby liked it!!


Treehouse Chef said...

Love the recipe. I plan on making this soon!