Monday, September 05, 2005

Beef and Chicken Manicotti ©

This Manicotti recipe is for a large gathering. It's an all day project and lots of work, but I guarantee, it will satisfy the hungriest of souls. It has two different shell stuffings - chicken and beef - and two different sauces - a red sauce and a white sauce.


28 manicotti shells ( 2 boxes) We prefer Barilla Shells

For the red sauce:

3 tablespoons quality olive oil
1 medium onion -- finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper -- finely chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 quart canned whole tomatoes with juice
3 teaspoons Spice Island Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning (recipe posted here somewhere)
2 teaspoons Spice Island Italian Herb
1/2 cup Sweet Marsala wine
6 - 10 fresh basil leaves -- torn or 2 TBS dried leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Beef Filling

1 2-3 lb. beef chuck roast or eye of the round
2 tablespoons cracked fennel seeds
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
2 cloves garlic -- crushed
1 container ricotta cheese (8 oz.)
1 cup water
1 cup red sauce

Chicken Filling

3 - 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces sliced almonds
1 can sliced mushrooms (2-1/2 oz.) -- drained
8 drops Angostura Bitters
1/2 cup shredded prosciutto
1 container ricotta cheese (8 oz.)

Bechamel (White) Sauce

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Select the number of manicotti shells for the number of persons to be served ( 2-each of the beef and 2-each of the chicken). The recipe makes enough to stuff at least 28 shells, so cut the recipes in half for 14 shells.


Red Sauce

Sauté garlic, onion, pepper in the olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick (2-3 hours.) Let cool, then puree in a blender. BE SURE IT HAS COOLED FIRST!!!!

Beef Filling

Place beef roast in cold water with the spices and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat. (Crock pot works well here, but takes longer) Turn heat down, and simmer for 2 – 3 hours or until meat flakes easily. Let cool and remove all fat.

Break into 1-inch chunks, and put in food processor and chop. Add another teaspoon of fennel seed, and ½ tsp of anise seed to beef in food processor. Chop finely. Save in bowl and refrigerate until ready to stuff shells.

Chicken Filling

Place chicken in just enough cold water to cover it, and add the 1 ½ Tsp Nutmeg and the salt. Bring to boil over medium heat. Turn heat down, and simmer until done (30-minutes). DO NOT over cook.

Cool chicken, then break into 1-inch pieces and place in food processor with 1 Tsp nutmeg, almonds and mushrooms. Chop to a course mixture. Place in bowl and refrigerate until ready to fill shells.

White Sauce

Melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in flour until well blended, then pour in the milk and cream all at once. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly. When thick enough to heavily coat whisk, remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.


Chicken - Blend in one container of Ricotta cheese and shredded Prosciutto with the chicken mixture. Stuff tubes, keeping them on separate plates.

Beef - Blend in one container of Ricotta cheese with the beef mixture and 1 cup red sauce. Stuff shells, and keep separate on another plate.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking dish or pan large enough to hold 14-16 stuffed tubes.

Arrange tubes, chicken-filled in one row, beef filled in a second row.

Pour white sauce over chicken-filled tubes, and red sauce over beef-filled tubes – alternating so that you have a red and white filled baking dish. Drizzle stripes of white sauce over the red; drizzle stripes of red sauce over the white. Bake for approximately 30-minutes.

Leftovers freeze well, but the shells may get a little 'leathery', so before reheating them, spritz with water and cover them with waxed paper so they steam throuogh well and tenderize.