I was scoping out recipes online and came across a recipe for a ham stuffed manicotti. It was a light bulb moment! Cue the fireworks! Sound the alarms!!! Holy Moses! This is my saving grace! I still get to eat the ton of ham leftover from Christmas, but I get to change it up and keep dinner from getting boring! Sah-weet.
Word to the wise: Multi-tasking while making this dinner is key. A timer is imperative. It helps one to multi-task. While I was making the manicotti shells one at a time, I was able to make the filling. I must add that this was only made possible by way of a timer. So, if you want to multi-task and get dinner on the table faster, utilize a timer!
First up: the shells. Don't feel like making homemade pasta? No worries. Buy yourself some and skip down to the second recipe to ham it up!
Homemade Manicotti Shells
Yields: 24 manicotti shells
8 eggs, divided in half
3 cups water, divided in half
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided in half
1 and ½ tsps Kosher salt, divided in half
1. Combine four eggs, 1 and 1/2 cups of water, 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into a large bowl. Repeat using the other half of the ingredients. Add the new mixture to the bowl and stir together.
2. Lightly oil a frying pan and then heat the pan for about a minute over medium high heat. Spoon a little bit less than 1/4 cup's worth of batter onto the frying pan.
3. THIS PART IS KEY: As soon as the batter hits the pan, quickly tilt and turn the pan in a circular motion until the batter forms a round, thin layer in the pan. (Similar to a crepe or a very thin pancake.)
4. Cook about 30 to 45 seconds until the shell surface appears dry.
5. Lovingly and in a careful manner (yes, you must love your food), flip over the manicotti shell and cook for an additional 15 to 20 seconds.
6. Repeat this process with each 1/4 cup of batter. It will make about 24 shells.
7. Stack shells between waxed paper. Use immediately or save for later!
Ham Stuffed Manicotti
Recipe Courtesy: About.com
Yields: 8 servings
14 manicotti pasta shells
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 cups cooked cubed ham
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 TBS butter
6 TBS flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. If you're using the above homemade manicotti shell recipe, they are ready to go. But, if you are using store purchased, you must cook it as directed on the package and drain it, and set it aside.
3. In a large fry pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, celery, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add the ham, cook for an additional minute or two. Set aside to cool. Once it has cooled, add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
4. In a saucepan, cook the butter for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour until fully combined and beginning to bubble. Add the milk, still whisking your life away, until the a thick sauce begins to form. Add cheese, still continually stirring until well combined.
5. Add about 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce to the ham mixture, stirring until well combined.
6. Fill the manicotti with the 1/2 cup of the ham mixture. Roll it up and place into a casserole dish with the seam side down. Continue this process for all of the shells. Placing them tightly together in the dish.
7. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over top of the stuffed shells.
8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving!