I have been craving manicotti for a while.  I really had no idea how to make it.  I had bought the shells on an impluse buy during out last shopping trip.  DH had a test this evening so I thought I would attempt it while he wasn’t here to get involved.  I googled recipes and did not find one I preferred so I pretty much stole from about seven to get the the end result!

I started by cooking the noodles according to the instructions on the box.  I browned 2 tbl garlic in a pan.  While that was browning I mixed 15 oz ricotta, 2 tbl basil, and two eggs.  I added a tbl flour.  I put the garlic in it and set it aside.

I also browned ground beef for the red sauce.  This is when I realized that we did not have any canned red sauce.  DH would by stopping by the store on the way home to get things I needed for a cake, so I was in debate.  Wait on him or try it from scratch?  Here is where my friend Google came into play once again.  I had run out of tomatoes while cooking something else earlier this week and had opened a can that was still mainly full.  I saw this as a good chance to use that up.  So I browned garlic *again*.  I added half a diced onion, one diced carrot, one diced stalk celery, a bit of basil, and a bit of cilantro.  I let that simmer for a while and then added the can of tomatos with the juice.  I let it simmer and added a bit of pepper.  After the ground beef was cooked I added that.

After the shells cooked came the part I did not master…at all.  I lined my casserole dish with a bit of the sauce and set about filling the shells.

I determined that I did not fill them nearly full enough, but the cheese kept sliding out.  If anyone can explain to me how this is done I would be a happy camper. Anyway, once they were filled I covered with the rest of the sauce.  I put foil over the dish and baked at 350 for 30 min.  I them covered with 1/2 cup shredded parm and baked for five more.

I really liked it a lot.  I just need to get the noodles a little more full next time. 

After this endeavor I was off to bake a cake!!