Thursday, May 26, 2011

Servantless cooks

Last night at 6:05 p.m. I wanted manicotti
At 7:18 p.m. we were eating just that.

Start with a big pot of water, on 8, close to high (put a lid on it)
baking dish- ceramic is best because it is cute on the table

get all you ingredients out- it is the best way. Even if you aren't an organized person, be an organized cook, you'll thank me.

Big tub of ricotta
2 eggs
dried oregano
fresh oregano
mozz, shredded
manicotti noodles

Large can of whole tomatoes (no salt is best), pulse in food processor 
can of tomato sauce (straight, not marinara)
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 lb ground beef, sirloin or whatever
3 carrots, diced

Brown the beef in a big, high sided pan on med/ med high
toss in the carrots and onion when there is only a little pink left 
push everything to the side of the pan, tip it and take the fat out. Use a spoon or one of those gadgets they have, the one with the bulb... I don't have one. I only have tools that are multi-functional, it's my thang
2 t. dried thyme
put a lid on it and turn it down a bit

***this is a good time to put your noodles in the boiling water, lid off*****

about 5-8 minutes later add garlic, tomatoes and tom sauce
Simmer sauce for about 10 minutes or until you need it
Add fresh oregano if you have it or dried, start with 1/2 tsp

Preheat to 375*

put ricotta with 2 eggs, 1 cup shredded mozz cheese a pinch of salt, pepper, cumin (about 1/4 tsp), 1/2 thyme and 1/2 T fresh oregano.. stir together making sure eggs are incorporated,
you can whisk those with a fork first
Then take a large ziplock and open it and turn down the sides. Set it in a glass or bowl pointy side down (to keep it upright) and fill it with cheese mixture. Twist the bag around the cheese and zip it shut
Snip off the end (small hole is best)

Put enough sauce to cover the bottom of your baking pan
Fill each noodle with your handy little cheese tube-thingy
you can put them in a row or crowd them in the pan
cover them with sauce and foil 
bake for about 20 minutes 
then foil off, top with cheese and it's ready to serve in under 10 minutes
when bubbling and your house smells divine.

I served mine with steamed broccoli which is my favorite right now because it is cheap and versatile, even thought you wouldn't think so.
Once steamed (and not to mush) I whisk 1/2 a lemon with a pinch of salt, some dill with about 2-3 T of good olive oil
I drizzle that over the broccoli and put in about 1T of butter and before serving stir it in (you can omit the butter, but I cannot)

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