I love talking about cooking and such, seeing as how I am a chef (pastry chef though). I will definately have to post some more of my own recipes later on, I do have some good ones. But I warn you, they can be a bit unorganized and sloppy... because thats the kind of person I am (haha). But anyway, one of my favorite and simple things to make is Manicotti
Manicotti (one of my personal favorites, which I shall now share with you)
Ingredients are the following:
.::One 12 ounce package of Mozzerella cheese. (Grated!)
.::One 8 ounce can of Spinach (dont worry, I dont like spinach either, but it somehow taste good in this recipe)
.::One medium sized container of Ricotta cheese (dont know how many ounces, but my guess would be around 24)
.::Some parmesian cheese (grated)
.::Two large eggs
.::2 Teaspoons of salt
.::1 tablespoon of sugar
.::Tomato Sauce (however much you want, but shouldnt be too much, maybe 5 to 8 tablespoons)
.::For this, you will obviously need Manicotti shells. Jumbo shells preferably (you will know why later).
1.) In a fairly large bowl (I mean, BIG) mix together the following ingredients: The Ricotta cheese, the eggs, the Spinach (make sure its drained COMPLETELY from the can), one half of the Mozzerella cheese (6 ounces), about 5 pinches of Parmesian cheese, the salt, and the sugar. Mix until very well blended (It should look white, but with a green tint, and it should have the spots of green [spinach])
2.) Boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add a teaspoon or two of salt to the water. After that, drop the Manocotti shells into the water, and leave the pot UNCOVERED. Be sure to stir the mixture constantly. The shells are ready when they are soft, like your normal pasta. (Al-dente I believe is the word)
3.) After draining the shells, set them aside, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Here comes the "fun" part. Next, you have to take the pasta shells, (remember, they do look tubular) and fill them each with a good amount of the mixture that was previously made. This is tedious, but...trust me guys, after you take one bite of the final product, and its alllll worth it. Anyway, keep filling those, and filling.
4.) Next, you have to grease (I use extra virgin olive oil to grease my pan) a 13 by 9 inch cooking pan, preferably glass. After greasing, set all the filled manocotti pasta into that pan. You will have to do some alligning and arranging, but it shouldnt be too much of a hassle. Once you have done that, put the tomato sauce all over the top of the manicotti. Do so, until it looks about evenly distributed. Next, put the remaining half of the shredded mozzerella cheese on top.
5.) Were almost done. Very little left. Before putting the pan into the oven, YOU MUST put aluminum foil to cover the pan, on the top. The reasoning for this is so that the mozzerella cheese does not burn while the manocotti is still baking. After putting the foil, NOW you can put the pan into the already preheated 375 degree oven. The entire thing cooks for approxamately 40 minutes, however, there still is one more step. After 30 to 35 minutes of the manicotti already cooking, you must remove the foil, and then let it bake again for the remaining 5 to 10 minutes. We didnt want the mozzerella cheese to burn, but we dont want it not to melt either. After the 40 minutes are up, take out of the oven, and let it stand for 5 minutes, so it can cool down. It will serve a family of 4 or 5, but 2 hungry men can easily wolf this down.
Here is a picture that I found on google. I dont think any picture can truely do this meal justice. Not to mention, the smell is absolutely fantastic. I recommend everyone doing this right now because it seriously is the greatest type of pasta ever. Anyway, thank you for your time.