Back on Tuesday, August 3, before we left for vacation, my son and his fiance were invited to dinner. When you left us, my son and I were making pickles, he having some extra time since he has taken the bar exam, but his job hasn't started yet. After the pickles, we got down to the manicotti. Dishes have various parameters in this family. As stated, my husband can't eat shellfish. My daughter is a vegetarian, and the fiancee doesn't like ground beef, or apparently any kind of ground meat. She was too polite to tell me about this, but my son told me. So I made two batches of manicotti, one with meat, and one with ricotta cheese.
I put the water on to boil for the manicotti tubes, and started making the fillling. The recipe calls for ground ham. Now, as near as I can make out, one cannot buy ground ham. Requests to the butcher guys at the supermarket to grind same are met with refusals. So, if you want ground ham, I suggest you do what I did. Buy a slice of ham. Cut it in chunks and put it in the Cuisineart. The Cuisineart renders it ground, or close enough.
The recipe says cook the manicotti tubes until half done, about 12 minutes. I don't know what I did, but the tubes were fully done, and limp. They split up the sides which made it difficult to fill them. I just sort of spread the filling on one side of the opened tube and folded the other side over the whole thing. Tomato sauce covers up a multitude of sins.
Manicotti with Veal and Ham
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground cooked ham
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Marsala wine (I used red.)
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 four inch pieces manicotti
6 quarts boiling salted water
3 to four cups tomato sauce, preferably home made marinara sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Saute the veal, ham and onion in one tablespoon of the oil until lightly browned.
3. In a bowl, combine the meat mixture, salt, pepper, rosemary, nutmeg, egg, Marsala, bread crumbs, and two tablespoons of the cheese.
4. Cook the manicotti in the boiling salted water until half done, about twelve minutes. Draine and rinse in cold water. Add remaining oil.
5. Cover the bottom of a shallow baking dish with half the sauce. Fill the manicotti with the meat mixture and arrange in a single layer on top of the sauce.
6. Cover with remaining sauce, sprinkle with reamining cheese and bake about thirty minutes or until tender and bubbly hot.
Makes four servings.