Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Manisagna is Born!

Yeoldfurt has been under the weather since Saturday and has mostly had just chicken noodle soup for supper these past few days.  He's finally on the mend and ready for some real food again, so I asked him this morning if he'd like me to make manicotti.  He loves manicotti so I got an enthusiastic thumbs up at the suggestion.   After all, it's comprised of his three all time favorite food groups ...meat, cheese and pasta!

When I got home this afternoon, I started digging through the kitchen.  Other than angel hair, spaghetti, flat noodles and elbow macaroni, we don't stock a twelve-month supply of pastas.  I could have sworn I bought a box of manicotti pasta last week but it was nowhere to be found.  All I had were four manicotti shells.  What to do??

While I was digging for the missing box of manicotti, I came across a few extra lasagna noodles in a ziploc bag.  Then I had an idea.  Manicotti (the way I make it) and lasagna are SO similar ...why not combine them into one dish?  And that's how Manisagna came to be ....

I put a layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a 7 x 12 rectangular baking dish.  At one end, I put my four little manicotti shells stuffed with the soft cheese, parmesan and egg mixture.   At the other end, I layered lasagna noodles over the sauce, followed by the soft cheese/egg mixture, followed by shredded mozzarella.  It took three layers on the lasagna side to make it the same height as the manicotti side.  Then I poured the remaining sauce evenly over the top and covered the whole thing with a final layer of shredded mozzarella.  It's been in the oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes now and it's already smelling good.  I'll make a tossed salad and in another hour or so, we'll sit down to a nice supper.



While we're on the subject of baked pasta dishes, I never boil my pasta before assembling the dish.  I used to and I remember what a headache it was to get the pasta cooked perfectly, then get it cool enough to handle but still hot enough not to stick together.  Not easy.

I don't remember how I discovered this, but somewhere along the way I started assembling lasagna with uncooked pasta.  It was SO much easier to spread the soft cheese/egg mixture evenly on the dry lasagna noodles.  Literally every aspect of the assembly process was easier.  The first time I did it, I assembled the layers to make lasagna, then covered it and left it in the refrigerator over night.  I thought the pasta would absorb some of the juices overnight and soften up.  Then I set it on the counter for 30 minutes the next day to come to room temperature, then baked it at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, as normal.  It was wonderful.  Later on, I discovered leaving it overnight in the refrigerator was not a necessary step.  So now I just assemble and put it in the oven and it always comes out fine.

These days you can buy 'oven ready' lasagna noodles in the grocery stores.  They are shaped slightly different and have shallow ridges (like Ruffles) running the long way on the noodles and they are about twice the price of 'normal' lasagna noodles.  But the ingredients lists are exactly the same.   What a rip-off, huh?

So if you're still boiling the noodles when you make lasagna, please try this method next time you make lasagna.  You may be skeptical the first time, but you'll be a believer after you try it.  And if you think spreading soft cheese/egg mixture is easier on unboiled lasagna noodles, just wait until you see how much easier it is to stuff the manicotti when it's not pre-boiled. 

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9 Comments:

Blogger Kelle said...

Looks yummy! We make lasagna roll ups and freeze them for down the road meals( like when you're going to get home late or feeling a bit lazy maybe( I know I'm not the only one*wink*) We also make homemade raviolies( meat and cheese) and freeze them.

We've used the no pre cooked noodles method and agree once you try it you'll never go back to parboiling.

Blessings for your day, glad to hear Ye old Fart is feeling better too :o)

May 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thanks for the visit, Kelle.

Mmmm ...Ravioli. There's something I've never tried to make. Share your recipe?

I'm glad YOF is back too. He's too quiet and sleeps too much when he's sick. Of course, that's what he NEEDS but I really miss his company during those times.

: )

May 11, 2011 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Modern Day Redneck said...

Thanks for the tip. I will try that next time.

May 12, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Looks and sounds great. I would never have put uncooked noodles in, but since you have done the experiment and it works, I will try it. I know it would be easier, as you say, than dealing with hot, wet, slippery, stick noodles just out of hot boiling water.

Wish you could email me a bite, ha.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

May 14, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thank you both for the visit. Yeoldfurt's appetite is back and that usually means he's officially on the mend. Wouldn't that be nice if we could email samples to each other!

How's that tanning bed working out, Debbie? What NICE bd present!

May 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I've been using tanning beds for years, but it sure is nice to have one at home. I've probably spent enough to pay for a tanning bed already.

I was 60 years old this birthday, a really tough birthday for me. He wanted to do something special and this is something I will use.

We have so many tall trees here at the river there is no way I get a tan outside.

Also I'm so allergic to poison ivy etc. that when I'm working outside I must wear long pants, boots, long sleeves and gloves.

Hubby has been using the tanning bed also, but he was lily white, now he is pink, ha

I have one full lot full of weeds that need to be sprayed with RoundUp, if the rain will ever stop I will finally get that done. They may be over my head by then.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

May 16, 2011 at 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Lilia Bizier said...

baked pasta was my favorite pasta all the time.. :)

May 17, 2011 at 12:40 AM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Debbie, I would say Grouch picked a winner with the tanning bed. I had to laugh when you said he has gone from lily white to pink ...I have a very fair-skinned sister who had the same result. Melanin, either you've got it or you don't. LOL

I thought turning 50 would have a bigger impact. It was like the big scary milestone that wasn't. This November, I will be halfway to 60 and I've decided too much time is wasted worrying about big-numbered birthdays. I figure if I don't FEEL old and I don't ACT old, nobody is gonna accuse me of being old. My grandmother was living in the mountains of Colorado, shoveling snow off of her roof in winter and mowing her own lawn in winter well into her 80's, so I have a good role model.

: )

May 17, 2011 at 5:34 AM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Lilia, I've always liked pasta but my husband LOVES pasta ...baked, boiled, hot, cold, pretty much any kind of sauce. Any pasta is good pasta to him. LOL

May 17, 2011 at 5:38 AM  

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