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post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok as i sit here eating my cheese filled manicotti i got to wondering, can someone give me a recipe for homemade manicotti noddles? And i'm sure it will not look like what i am eating now (mine are store bought dried noodles) and my guess is will taste much better as well. And and just one more thing also if anyone has a good tomato sauce recipe, would you mind sharing? Don't get me wrong some store bought one are ate able but i would like to start making my own from scratch. :bounce: thank for all the help!!
post #2 of 19


I have used crepes before, and it is really good.:roll:
post #3 of 19

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,
post #4 of 19
What kind of tomato sauce? Fresh, simple, sweet and light? Or developed and round? Just tomatoes and herbs? Or other vegetables? Meat?

Here's a basic sugo:

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 28 oz can plum or (preferably) San Marzano tomatoes, whole, peeled and seeded; or, 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (see Note.)
3 tbs sugar, divided
1 glass red wine
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
1 tbs salt, divided

Drain the tomatoes, reserve the juice, and rough chop the tomatoes.

Saute the onions on medium high heat in olive oil until sweated and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, two minutes at most. Add the tomato paste, and move the vegetables through it. Cook until the paste darkens, another three or four minutes.

Add the tomatoes, half the juice, reduce the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the flame to hold a medium simmer. Add 2 tbs sugar, the wine, the instant coffee (or a shot of espresso) and the pepper flakes. Simmer 15 minutes, until wine is cooked.

Taste and adjust for sugar and wine. Add the herbs, crumbling them into the sauce. Let simmer another 15 minutes.

Taste and adjust for herbs, and salt. It may not need any salt, depending on the type of tomatoes ues. Continue to simmer until the tomatoes are almost, but not completely melted. Probably another half hour, altogether. If sauce is too thick, thin with the remaining juice, water, and/or wine as desired.

Note: This sauce will be slightly chunky. It may be milled, sieved, processed, blended or otherwise pureed to smooth it. Alternatively, it may be made with crushed tomatoes instead of whole.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well thank you so much for your help again BDL. :) As for the tomato, well what do you like? you have to remember i have NEVER had home made so i would like just a basic to start, i'm sure it will taste alot better then most i have had from a jar. I never knew there was a sweet sauce though, have done meat and such but like before it cam from a can. i guess sauces have always just scared me to try, don;t know why but i am always worried i am going to burn them or something. But i will never know till i try, and in the end i think it would be better to do it all from scratch!
post #6 of 19
Always glad to help a friend, Jason.

I'd start with the whole tomatoes, and rough chop them. If you don't like the texture after the sauce is cooked, you can puree it in the blender. Then, next time use crushed tomatoes.

The best canned tomatoes, if you can find and afford them are "San Marzano." After that, I'm sort of partial to Contadina.

You'll find tomato sauce very easy. In no time you'll be making double and triple recipes and freezing it so you have plenty. You'll find this particular version very adaptable. For instance, you can turn it into a meat sauce, a clam sauce very easily or even a zucchini sauce with very little trouble at all.

Jase, you're starting to get a good grasp on this whole cooking thing .

Hang in there,
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok BDL i get what your saying, sounds pretty easy like what you were saying! I have seen the Contadina brand out here in some store but never seen San Marzano, i will have a look around when i get moved back south. Nice t know the sauce can be changed with ease that makes it even easier! And i do believe that i will ba doing a lot of freezing as well. Thank you for thinking i am getting a good grasp on cooking, the way i see it you can never stop learning!! An i am glad you are willing to help a friend. =)
post #8 of 19


I've never put instant coffee or sugar in mine. The rest is pretty similar. What does these ingredients do for the sauce?
post #9 of 19
Your questions are good ones. They take us back to a "first principles" way of looking at a very common sauce. It's helpful to sometimes see cooking as creating rather than repetitive in that it helps us understand the "why," of the "what," and allows us some room for creativity and adjustment.

A little strong coffee enhances two components of the tomato taste. One is quite savory. The other a bit bitter. Ideally, a shot or two or espresso is used, but few of us have espresso machines, and fewer still have them hot and ready to go all day long.

The sugar balances the acid, and also compensates a bit if the tomatoes weren't perfectly ripe when they were picked or, in this case canned. Canned tomatoes tend to need less sugar, because the tomatoes they were made from are typically ripe. Also, tomato paste adds a bitter note, how much depends on how well it's cooked with the initial saute. Finally, sugar acts very much like salt, in that it "brings out" other flavors. We think of it as purely sweet because we usually use a lot of sugar in order to make things sweet, but it has an important culinary use as an "all around" seasoning. If you look at the recipe instructions you'll see that the sugar amount is variable -- which allows you to control the bitter-sweet-sour balance of the sauce.

Most sauces are about balance, certainly basic tomato sauce. Not that there aren't exceptions like puttanesca, which slaps you in the face with salt and sour. This sauce is more typical, and the sweet component plays with the bitter and sour. A slightly sweet aspect is particularly good with baked pastas like manicotti and lasagna.

I can't help but notice your nic -- are you a med-mal gal? What Jx?

post #10 of 19
"I can't help but notice your nic -- are you a med-mal gal? What Jx?"

I'm sorry; I am new to this forum. I do not know what these abbreviations mean???

I totally agree. I rarely follow a recipe exact. I'm all about using what is in my pantry. In my sauce, I usually use can tomatoes (except garden season), paste, and sauce. By using the sauce, it seems to cut down on the bitter taste. I will definitely try your ingredients for an alternative. I'm always looking for new and/or better ways of doing things. Let me know what the abbreviations stand for, and I'll be happy to answer.
post #11 of 19
I mistook your screen nic as meaning you were a JD (attorney) and a "doc." A "med-mal gal" is a woman attorney who specializes in medical malpractice litigation. "Jx" is lawyer-shorthand for "jurisdiction." It's a way of asking whether you practice in other States and Federal as well as your home state.

post #12 of 19
Hahaha, I see!! No, my nic is my first initial, my hubby's first initial, first 3 letters of our last name. I'm just a Cost/Price Analyst in Contracting with the USAF-DoD :lol:
post #13 of 19
i've never ever heard of anyone putting coffee in tomato sauce. I'm curious to try it, but i'm even more curious who thought this up.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #14 of 19
Don't know where it started. It's an espresso thing, so presumably somewhere in Italy -- but who knows? At any rate, it brings out tomato nicely.

post #15 of 19
There is a San Marzano brand of tomatoes, but don't buy them. Look for the type of tomato called San Marzano, and there are many brands of that type. The San Marzano brand is not a San Marzano tomato.

post #16 of 19

My personal feeling is not to add the sugar until the end. Tomatoes, even canned, will vary in sweetness and acidity by brand, time of year and location of harvest. If you wait to the end, you can taste the sauce and better see how much, if any, sugar is needed. If you add an arbitrary amount before the sauce is done cooking, it's possible to have too sweet a sauce.

For my taste, and the tomatoes I've used, I've never found a need to add even 2 tbs of sugar, although this recipe calls for espresso, so that may call for a little more sugar than a sauce made without the espresso. Of course, if you like a sweet sauce, try the sugar and see how you like it.

post #17 of 19
The first record of using espresso in a tomato sauce using canned tomatoes was in the early summer of 1957 in Brooklyn, NY. That's when "Big Vinnie" Galerno made a huge pot of sauce when he and the boys took to the mattresses during a slight altercation between two well known families in NYC, after the May assassination attempt of Frank Costello.

post #18 of 19
Thanks shel. I never heard anyone here in italy to use coffee in tomato sauce and would never mention it if i did put it in because it would be taken as an "americanata" (People are SOOOO orthodox here about their food, heaven forfend that someone might dare to use an ingredient not usually used.) Curious to try it, but i'm thinking that it may be useful where the tomatoes are not so good. I don;t know anyone who uses tomato paste either, except in some sort of stew, where it will be always diluted with water. But i found that when i cook at friends' houses in the states, i have to do much more to make a sauce palatable than i do here. Here most people just fry an onion or piece of garlic in some oil, throw out the onion or garlic and add the tomatoes - cook for half hour and that's it. And i have to say it wasn;t bad at all, to my immense surprise.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #19 of 19
Like you, I keep my sauce simple. Don't think I've ever used tomato paste in a sauce. However, for quite a few years I've only used Italian tomatoes, and then only from two or three suppliers, so I don't have to fight the additives that are often found in American canned tomatoes - lots of salt, calcium chloride for example.

BDL's use of coffee, the large amount of sugar, and a few other things sound strange to me. However, BDL is pretty knowledgeable, and he's had more experience than I, so it might be interesting to try his recipe and technique some time.

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