Kaye's Kitchen: Basic Meat Sauce & Manicotti
My mom Kaye is, among other things, an incredible cook and she's agreed to let me share some of her yummiest recipes that I grew up with on this site. I'm still a kitchen beginner so any recipe that I post here is Callie proof, which means it'll be simple and straightforward.
My mom's manicotti is one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood. It's my go-to when cooking meals for friends and in my opinion, it's even better the second day. If I know I have a busy day on Monday, I'll prep the entire dish on Sunday afternoon and stick it in the fridge until the next day, then pop it in the oven an hour before dinner time. This is a super simple recipe, the cooking time is what you have to plan for.
This recipe makes me giggle because I HATED the consistency of onions as a kid, so my mom made her own very simple, non-fancy sauce sans onions to appease me and my sister. Repeat: THIS IS NOT FANCY. As an adult I still make this simple, non-onion version. It's kid friendly and husband approved.
Kaye's Basic Meat Sauce
1 lb. ground beef (I use grass fed beef)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1- 12 oz. can tomato paste
2 cups water
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large skillet; cook until meat is browned, stirring to crumble meat. Drain. Add tomato paste & water; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary.
Kaye's Saucy Stuffed Manicotti
1 recipe of Kaye's Basic Meat Sauce
1 package manicotti shells with at least 8 shells (I use Jovial Gluten Free shells from Whole Foods but any brand will work)
1 cup ricotta cheese (part skim and whole milk versions will both work)
1 egg, beaten (I use Vital Farms brand)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices provolone cheese, halved
Cook all shells according to package directions; drain and set aside. The original recipe calls for 8 shells, but I find myself using 10-12 depending on how many I feel like squeezing into the pan. Sometimes noodles break, sometimes I get hungry while I'm cooking...whatever, don't judge. Smart to just cook them all. The goal is to cover the bottom of your dish with stuffed shells, so whatever works for you. Combine ricotta cheese, beaten egg, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses in a medium bowl. Mix well. Stuff shells with egg mixture and arrange in a lightly greased 9 inch square baking pan until the noodles cover the bottom. Top with provolone cheese. Pour meat sauce over manicotti. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.