1-1/2 cups AP flour
1-1/2 cups semolina flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 X-Large eggs
2 tbs olive oil
AP Flour for kneading
Note: The technique is very simple. Mix, knead, rest, roll, rest, roll some more, cut and fill. Each process can be done by hand or by machine. The pasta will be best if mixed and kneaded by hand, rested in the refrigerator, and rolled by machine. Most noodles are best cut or extruded by machine with a few exceptions. Very wide noodles, squares, sheets, and rags.
MIX by hand: Mix the flours and the salt in a bowl. Turn the flour onto your board in a steep, mountain shaped mound. Put your hand in the center of the mountain and hollow out the core, so the mountain becomes a volcano. Break the eggs into hollow and measure the oil on top of the eggs.
With one hand (ONE, NOT both), push a little flour off the top of the volcano. Put your hand into the eggs and mix them without knocking off any more flour, when the yolks are well broken, push some flour off the mountain into the volcano's crater and mix that. Keep repeating the process until a very soft dough forms. As you mix more and more flour into the dough, the flour will take the sticky goo off hour hand, and incorporate it into the dough. Keep mixing until all of the flour is incorporated, or the dough won't take any more flour without feeling dry in the center.
MIX by machine; Measure or break, as appropriate, all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until just mixed.
KNEAD by hand: If there's no flour left on the board, put plenty of bench flour on the board. (If the hand mixed dough has absorbed all the flour it can, and there's plenty left on the board, you may omit adding more). Knead the dough as you would any other dough. That is by pressing, rolling and turning. Continue kneading until the dough is shiny and elastic. For most people, under most conditions, this is about 12 to 15 minutes.
KNEAD by machine: You can knead acceptable noodle dough in a processor. I suggest pulsing until almost kneaded, then finish kneading by hand. A stand mixer is better than a processor. Use the dough hook, and knead as you would any other dough. About 10 minutes, usually.
REST the dough: After the dough is kneaded, break it in half, pull down each half into a ball, and wrap each ball in cling wrap. When the ball is well wrapped, lean on it with your palms and flatten it into a disk. Allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. You can push the resting process a little if the dough was made in a cool kitchen and kneaded by hand or in a stand mixer. Otherwise, it needs the full 30.
ROLL the dough out: Use a pasta machine. Flour the rollers generously (Important! Don't forget). Set your machine to the widest setting (on my Atlas, that's "8.") Remove one of your disks from the refrigerator, unwrap it and stretch an edge so it's narrow enough to get into the rollers. Roll the dough through the widest setting twice. It takes some practice getting used to handling the dough sheets while rolling, especially with a hand cranked machine, but I assure you it can be done.
When the dough is rolled out, throw a little flour on both sides. Adjust the machine narrower, but skip a setting. So if you started at "8," you'll be going to "6," again, put the dough through this setting (and each of the following settings) twice. Scatter a little flour on each side of the dough, to keep it from sticking to itself on the next setting.
Keep working your way through the settings, going through each setting twice, and lightly flouring the dough as you work it. If you're working in a hot kitchen, you'll have to rest the dough in the refrigerator before putting it through the finest setting. If you're going to the narrowest setting, you can't skip the next narrowest. That is, don't go from "4" or "3" directly to "1." You have to go through "2." However, you only need to go through "2" once.
I suggest rolling the first ball out to "2," flouring both sides well, folding it onto the longest tray your refrigerator will accommodate, and resting it before rolling out to 1 and cutting. While it rests, you can roll out the second ball.
Almost everyone prefers their noodles rolled out to the finest setting, "1." However, with manicotti, especially if you're going to score it (rigate) with a comb, some prefer to leave it at "2." For your first few efforts, go to 1, and forget about scoring. When you can do this in your sleep, we'll talk rigate ("ridged").
CUTTING by hand:
Lay the sheets out, and cut in squares. Store the sheets as with crepes, that is, with a sheet of waxed paper between sheet. You may store, wrapped tightly in cling wrap, as long as 24 hours. You may also freeze. However, the longer you store, the iffier the whole thing becomes. If the sheets become too dry to roll without breaking you can blanch them first.
FILLING hand made Manicotti sheets: Set a small bowl of water by your board. Lay out a square sheet, look at it and imagine that it's divided horizontally into 3 bands of equal width. Dip your finger into the bowl, and run a little water over the entire length of the top band (or use a brush if you're OCD). Then, put a couple of spoon fulls of filling in the middle band, so they're almost touching in the center, but don't reach the edges (or you may use a pastry bag if you're doing huge numbers). Fold the bottom band over the filling, then finish rolling the manicotti as you would roll a spliff aka [ahem] cigar -- using very gentle finger pressure to distribute the filling evenly as you roll. Keep rolling until the seam is centered underneath the manicotti. I prefer to roll as many as will fit on the blade of a spatula, then lift them all at once and transfer them to the baking dish. On my board, with my spatula, that's four comfortably. Try two to start.
Note 1: Remember: A) Keep them seam side down; B) DO NOT try and pick them up by hand, use a spatula; and C) The manicotti are heavy and the seams are weak -- handle with care.
Note 2: While you're filling, keep the remaining pasta sheets under a damp towel to keep them from drying as you work.
Hope this helps,