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Baked Manicotti with Bolognese Ragu

I've always loved stuffed pasta.  All too often, however, I find that the filling is under seasoned, and that the sauce overpowers the entire dish.  So for this recipe I wanted to have a filling that was very flavorful, and a sauce that, while delicious, was subtle enough to compliment the pasta without stealing the show.  I think this combination succeeds wonderfully.  The recipe will allow for extra sauce in case you wish to serve non-stuffed pasta as well.  Or it makes terrific leftovers.

2 pounds    part-skim Ricotta cheese
cup    finely chopped fresh parsley
cup    finely chopped fresh basil
3 cloves    garlic, pressed
3 whole    eggs
cup    Prosciutto, diced
1-8 ounce package   manicotti shells, 14 count
1 cup   shredded mozzarella
1 cup   grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 recipe Bolognese Ragu
 

I suggest making the filling a few hours ahead of time to allow the flavors of cheese, garlic and herbs to fully meld.

Beat the eggs and combine them with the Ricotta.  Fold in the grated cheese, basil, parsley and Prosciutto until all is well combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to use.

Boil the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.  Rinse briefly to cool.  Stuff the manicotti with the cheese mixture until nice and plump.  Lay into baking pan that has been greased or coated with cooking spray.  I use a 9x14" pan which perfectly holds 12 manicotti:  8 down the center and two on each side.

Spoon the Ragu over the pasta until completely covered.  Bake in a 375º oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes.  Remove and top with the mozzarella.  Return to the over for an additional 10 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt.

Let stand for about 5 minutes.  Serve with additional sauce on the side.


 
 

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