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Isabella's Baked Manicotti



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Isabella's Baked Manicotti

1/4 cup fine-quality olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 2-pound, 3-ounce can Italian plum
tomatoes, undrained
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock [or canned
low-sodium chicken broth]
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 tablespoon salt [or to taste]
2 teaspoons sugar [or to taste, but be
sure to include a least a generous pinch!]
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Manicotti shells:
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter

2 pounds ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
1/3 cup freshly grated good-quality
Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated good-quality
Parmesan cheese

Make the sauce:  In hot oil in a 6-quart kettle, saut√© the onion and garlic
until just golden [do not brown], about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, parsley sprigs, salt, sugar, oregano, basil, and pepper; mix well, mashing tomatoes with a fork. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the shells:  In a medium bowl combine the 5 eggs,
flour, salt and 1 1/4 cups water. Using a hand-help electric mixer, beat
the batter until it is smooth. Melt the butter in a 7-inch skillet. Pour in 2 tablespoons batter, rotating the pan quickly to spread the batter evenly
over the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat until the top is dry
but the bottom is not brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Continue
cooking batter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until all is used. As the shells cool, stack them with waxed paper between them.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the filling:
  In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella,
1/3 cup Parmesan, 2 eggs, minced parsley, salt and pepper; beat with
a wooden spoon until well blended. Place about 1/4 cup filling in the
center of each shell and roll up.
Spoon some of the sauce in the bottom of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking
dishes. Place the shells, seam side down, in a single layer in the dishes.
Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Serves 8-10.

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