Friday, October 4, 2013

Celebrate the Pasta-bilities, With “Mama’s Homemade Manicotti”

Beneventi! Welcome everyone, to my table, and let’s eat pasta, pasta, and more pasta! Did you know that October is “National Pasta Month?” Thirty-one days devoted to enjoying America's favorite food! It is estimated that pasta lovers eat their favorite food seven times a month - nearly twice a week! It shouldn't surprise anyone that when asked what food they could not live without 60% of those surveyed chose pasta, even instead of chocolate! Bringing American families exactly what they are looking for. Pasta is a versatile dish which can easily fit into a healthy lifestyle. It boosts energy, satisfies hunger, tastes great and can be prepared in a numerous ways. Pasta is a global food, which is consumed in all five continents. 

The first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn in 1848. I bet you thought it was an Italian that started the industry, you would be wrong! It was a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega. Pasta is enriched with vitamin-B which is necessary for cell formation, mental alertness, and energy conservation, plus it is very helpful in boosting the immune system. When the pasta is combined with vegetables, legumes, cheeses, olive oils, and fish, it is an added health advantage. To celebrate National Pasta Month, it is suggested that you try a new pasta. There are 600 shapes and flavors produced worldwide, including many whole grain options, as well as gluten free. But, watch your portions. Americans tend to overload their plates. A healthy portion of pasta is one to two cups cooked (1 cup of cooked pasta is about 200 calories). When eaten in the proper portions and in combination with healthy foods, pasta does not cause weight gain. Another way to enjoy pasta is to go meatless, try a hearty vegetable and bean soup or pasta with seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, or even pumpkin for a perfect fall meal. It's hard to pick a favorite. In 2011, Americans named spaghetti as their favorite shape. So, celebrate pasta and gather with family and friends to take advantage of a delicious meal. 

As you prepare pasta I would love to share a few tips with you: 
1. Use lots of water when cooking pasta. Do not add oil. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking together. 
2. Pasta is ready when it’s “al dente.” It should be cooked completely through, yet firm enough to offer some resistance to your bite. 
3. Many pasta shapes come in different sizes. The Italian suffix “ini” means smaller (Example: Spaghettini is a thin version of Spaghetti), while “oni” means larger.

Being an Italian-American, pasta is a big part of our family gatherings. I remember on Sundays my parents would invite the whole family over and “macaroni” as we called it, was on the menu for the day. The question everyone wanted to know was what type of pasta would my mom cook for our Sunday dinner? My personal favorites are Shells and Angel hair, or Capellini. The Shells always held the sauce in the little pockets and was fun to eat. The Angel hair, is much thinner than Spaghetti, it also cooks very fast. My recipe this week is one that my mother taught me how to make, which are like pillows of soft cheese in your mouth. “Mama’s Homemade Manicotti” is so delectable that you won’t mind some extra time in the kitchen creating these scrumptious crepes. Buon Gusto!! (Enjoy)

Mama’s Homemade Manicotti 

To make the shells (crepes):

Ingredients:   Makes about 24
8 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water
Small amount of butter for pan                                   

Put eggs in a blender, and then add water and salt. Then add flour a little at a time as you are blending together. Brush melted butter or a bit of oil in your sauté pan and pour batter into the pan, (I use a shot glass to measure out the amount of batter) tilting to coat the bottom of the pan (you want a very thin crepe). Cook only until the underside is lightly browned and is just set, then turn and cook the other side. Invert onto plate; continue until you have about 24 depending on the size of the crepe. *** You can freeze these crepes till you are ready to use. Make sure you use a piece of wax paper in between them before you freeze, so it is easier to take apart without breaking the crepes.

The Filling for the crepes:

3 lb container of part skim or whole milk Ricotta 
1 lb part skim or whole milk Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese  
Fresh Parsley flakes chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinara or Meat Sauce 

Directions for filling: 
1. Mix ricotta, cheese, parsley, and salt. Taste. Adjust seasoning according to taste and then stir in one egg. 
2. Slice mozzarella into small bite size pieces. Then add to the mixture of ricotta etc. Mix all together. 
3. Lay crepe on a flat surface or in your hand. Place about 1 tablespoonful of ricotta (more if the crepe is larger) into the center of the crepe and spread out to edges. Fold one edge halfway over and then fold the other side to form a packet. They should be sort of flat.
4. Spread a layer of sauce onto a baking pan. Lay manicotti side by side and arrange them until the pan is filled. Add another layer of sauce on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. 
5. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes and the sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Till Next Time…….

Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie , love pasta any way you boil it , thisrecipe looks so yummy , I know it's delicious , you can't miss with these ingredients and pasta . Thanks for sharing :).

  2. Thanks Nee, so glad that you enjoyed the post. It is so true, anyway you make it, pasta is the best! Thanks...Have a good weekend, Blessings :)

  3. OMGoodness Dottie!

    What a fabulous way to kick off not only National Pasta Month but the Pasta Party too!!!

    I love that you flavored your post with pasta history and fun facts but most of all, just look at that Manicotti!

    I haven't made Manicotti in years. Shame on me! These recipes are exactly as I remember them. I only wish I had made it down to new York for a nibble, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie. You are the first entry to the Pasta Party so you are NUMBER ONE! Thanks again (you can bring another pasta dish if you have time before World Pasta Day. you will of course get another number too:)

    P.S. I am sooooooo adding this to my Pinterest Pasta board:)

  4. Dear Louise,

    Thank you for your wonderful words! I love these little rolls of pasta. My mom and I have been making our own Manicotti for years. They are so light and delicious, you can really taste the cheese inside.

    Thanks for the first entry! I am sure others will follow. I have joined Pinterest but have no clue as to what I am doing. Have to learn the ropes. I may have some other pasta recipes, have to check.

    Thanks again, Blessings...Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, I used to make these as a little girl with my mom.
    A classic, delicious dish. Blessings dear, Catherine xo

  6. Dear Catherine, Thanks for visiting. I am glad that I was able to make your day with memories of you and your mom. Happy cooking, Blessings, Dottie :)

  7. Hi Cquek,
    Thanks for reading my blog. I am glad that you enjoyed the recipe. I don't know anyone who doesn't love pasta! Keep visiting...Dottie :)