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Credit: Chef Lance Cook and Chef Kirk Kief
the National Culinary Review, March 2021
From the Chef
“Chef Lance Cook, CEC, CCA — executive chef at Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida — and Chef Kirk Kief, CEC, CCA, CPC — executive chef and culinary instructor at Reality House in Daytona Beach, Florida, founding president of the ACF Mid Florida East Coast Chapter — partnered up for a study of the Italian-American comfort food manicotti (“little sleeve,” in Italian), with photos by Chef Kief. For the classical version, Chef Cook starts by making an easy pasta dough based on a recipe from Chef Thomas Keller’s acclaimed restaurant The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California. After gently kneading the dough for about 15 minutes to develop elasticity, Chef Cook passes the dough through a pasta machine and then cuts it into 5-inch-by-4-inch pieces. The “little sleeves” are then stuffed with a whole-milk ricotta, Parmesan, and herb filling; rolled up; and layered with tomato sauce in a baking dish. Topped with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, the dish is baked for about 25 minutes covered, and then finished, uncovered, for about five minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling — so simple, yet so comforting during these crazy times. The slow-simmered tomato sauce used in the recipe combines carrot and just a hint of sugar for a little extra sweetness against the salty Parmesan.”
8 ounces all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
10 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg, whisked
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
On flat surface, make a well with the flour. Place all wet ingredients in well. Mix by hand (or start with fork) until incorporated. Knead dough on flat surface with minimal flour for 5 minutes. Rest.
Knead 10 to 15 more minutes until gluten is developed. You cannot overwork this dough. Rest dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Combine all ingredients.
Place in piping bag with no tip or straight-edge tip. Reserve.
Preheat a heavy-bottom saucepot over medium heat. Add olive oil and sauté diced onions, carrots, and garlic until softened.
Add canned tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper. Cover and slow simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add basil, stir, and cook for another 20 minutes or so. Take out bay leaves and discard them. Blend sauce in the blender until smooth.
Pass through pasta machine starting on #1 setting. Roll to setting #2 and cut into 5-inch x 4-inch squares. Pipe ricotta cheese mixture onto one edge of pasta sheet. Roll and brush opposite end with egg wash to seal.
Ladle your favorite (warm) freshly prepared tomato sauce recipe into the bottom of the baking dish. Place manicotti into sauce, cover manicotti with more sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and bake covered in 350-degree F oven for 25 minutes, then uncovered for 5 minutes.
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