The weather outside always determines what I am willing to cook. And with the cold and rain, a full day of cooking seems like the perfect medicine (if you are me). Now, you can simplify this recipe a lot by not making the ricotta and tomato sauce from scratch. However, if you do make them, you will not regret it. Enjoy this dish with your family and friends, and a fruit-forward Merlot.
Homemade Ricotta (optional)
1 gallon whole or raw milk
1/3 cup of white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce (optional)
5 pounds of over-ripe Roma tomatoes
10 cloves of garlic
1 large eggplant
1 large egg
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1. You can see the full instructions for homemade ricotta here, or you can just use a container of store bought.
2. Mix the ricotta with the egg and garlic. Optionally, you can add some fresh herbs like basil, thyme or oregano.
3. You can also use store bought marinara sauce but this simple tomato recipe is so much better. It is simple and tastes like sun-dried tomatoes. Yum!
4. Thinly slice the eggplant and lay out the sheets on a prepared baking sheet. I cut mine too thick, do not do what I did. Bake the sheets at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until tender.
5. After the sheets have cooled a bit, roll them with the fresh ricotta cheese.
6. Using a large baking dish, put a healthy serving of the marinara sauce around the bottom of it. Then add in the manicotti.
7. Top the manicotti with the remaining sauce. You could also add some fresh mozzarella to finish the dish.
8. Bake the manicotti at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
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