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Tubes of pasta stuffed w/ cheese, meat, etc.

Manicotti w/ no-meat directions:

8 ounce package manicotti pasta
16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese (though I can seem to only find them in 15 oz containers, this works fine)
16 oz. shredded, whole milk (not reduced moisture or skim) mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
~2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
~32 ounces sauce (though I like more) -- this is the most important part, and I'm leaving the type of sauce up to you.
Optional
Olive Oil & Mushrooms (2 per noodle) and/or Green Peppers

1. Okay, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil, and put the pasta in for about 10 minutes until al dente. Then, I like to put the pasta on wax paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

2. Preheat to 350 degrees F (175 C)

3. Mix the cheeses, parsley, salt, pepper in a medium to large bowl, and this is the fun part, stuff the shells with your fingers. Be careful not to make the pasta split.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with sauce. Place the Manicotti on the sauce. When you finish placement (it may get a little tight), pour the rest of the sauce on top of them.

5. Cover the dish in foil and place in the oven we preheated in step 2. Bake for ~40-45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for ~15-20 more minutes.

Feeds 4 comfortably. I like a bit of Garlic Bread with this dish, personally.

Regarding the optional ingredients:

Rancid_Pickle notes that he likes to use Mushrooms or Green Peppers to cap the ends of the pasta, which sounds like a neat idea. He also covers the ends in the olive oil to prevent burning, which shouldn't happen if you have a lot of sauce. Supposedly, the oil keeps them from getting too squishy if baked in the sauce, too. I'll try that next time I make this. Thanks, Pickle.

I find that making your own crepes is better than using the store-bought. It doesn't take too much effort, if you can make pancakes, you can surely make the crepes. Besides, when people see that you are making your own noodles, you are instantly considered a better cook. So go ahead, impress your friends!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of milk
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Wax paper

Place the the flour in a mixing bowl and add in the milk, eggs, and salt and whisk until very smooth. Pour about two tablespoons into a skillet. Ideally, you want a crepe that is about 5 inches in diameter. Cook on medium until it is set, try your best on to let it brown, and don't bother turning it over.

As they finish, put the crepes onto wax paper, being sure to separate each layer with another sheet of wax paper. This will keep them from sticking from each other, trust me, it's a pain when they do.

To fill, just take a spoonful, I use a serving spoon and spead out down the center of the crepe in a line. You will know how much to use after the first couple or so. Roll the crepe around the filling and set, fold-down, into the pan of sauce. I use mushrooms to cap the ends as well Like Rancid Pickle pointed out.

You'll find this makes a very good manicotti noodle, and if you are cooking for a date, they will be sure to be amazed at your culinary skills.

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