(12 Manicotti Shells)
Manicotti means little muffs or sleeves and is a large tubular pasta usually stuffed with ricotta cheese and served topped with tomato sauce. For a change, how about ham-stuffed manicotti baked under a creamy white sauce?
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups diced prosciutto
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt to taste
1/2 cup white sauce
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups hot milk
2 cups Fontina cheese, cut into bits
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Cook the manicotti in 4 to 6 quarts of rapidly boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of salt has been added. Cook until al dente; they should remain a bit firmer than normal because they will be baked in the oven.
Drain, cool them, and set them aside while making the sauce.
To make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a two quart saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, whisk in the flour and make a smooth paste. Slowly add the milk and continue whisking until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the Fontina cheese, thyme and salt. Keep the sauce warm and covered.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and stir in the onion; cook until the onion begins to wilt. Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic softens. Stir in the prosciutto; cook a couple of minutes. Stir in the carrots. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese and white sauce. Cool until easy enough to handle.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter two baking dishes, each big enough to hold 6 stuffed manicotti in a single layer.
Fill the manicotti with some of the filling and place them in a single layer in the baking dishes. Cover them with the remaining sauce and sprinkle the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese evenly over the top. Cover the dishes with aluminum foil and bake them for 30-35 minutes; uncover the dishes and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until the top is nicely browned. Serve 2 per person as a first course or use as a main dish.
This recipe is featured in show 1705 — Stuffed Pasta.
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