|Picking the best herbs our kitchen shelf has to offer, Lucy ate a leaf of basil.|
After a successful harvest, they concocted the filling, made up of wonderful cheeses and the sweet, freshly-harvested basil.
|Lucy's favorite part--stirring! Lucy ate a spoonful.|
Then the mixture has to be put into the shells. They used what the cookbook recommends: a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off.
|Cutting corners in the recipe, after eating a cooked shell|
Filling the shells is pretty easy with the right tool! Lucy held the shells and told Mommy when they were full enough. Then she carefully laid them in the pan.
|Good team work!|
After the right amount of cooking in the oven, they came out beautifully!
|Yummy, yummy shells, which Lucy refused to eat!|
For those of you who want to try this at home, we used the recipe from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook:
12 manicotti (8 ounces) or 12-ounce box of jumbo pasta shells (we used shells)
22 ounces ricotta cheese (2.75 cups)
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1.5 cups)
3 ounces mozzarella, shredded (0.75 cups)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
0.25 cup minced fresh basil
0.25 teaspoon pepper
4 cups tomato sauce (any type will do, including your favorite jarred brand)
0.25 cup minced fresh parsley
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. When the water is boiling, stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the manicotti or shells. Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is almost tender but still a little firm to the bite. Drain the pasta, spread them out over a baking sheet, and let cool.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the mozzarella, egg, basil, 0.5 teaspoon salt, and 0.25 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
- Squeeze about 5 tablespoons of filling into each manicotti tube or 1 tablespoon in to each shell. Arrange the filled pasta in an oiled 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the filled pasta. Wrap the dish tightly in foil and bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the ricotta filing is hot, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the parsley and remaining Parmesan.