Manicotti is a workhorse as it can hold up to chunky fillings and hearty sauces. Always boil the shells about one-third fewer minutes than recommended on commercial packages.
Manicotti is a large, tubular pasta with thickened walls. It is one of the best shapes to stuff and well suited for make ahead casseroles. It also partners well with big, bold sauces. In Italy, it is known by another name: cannelloni.
While other pasta varieties have been around for centuries, it has been suggested that manicotti was not a recognized item until the 1920s.
Freshly made manicotti (or cannelloni) can be obtained at specialty shops. You can make your own: simply cut the dough into square flat sheets.
Keep in mind that dried versions maintain better adherence for sauces while fresh pasta will absorb more of the flavorings. You will also find recipes that use crepes instead of pasta although the ingredients may be the same.
Most brands package this type of pasta in rectangular boxes with a plastic viewing window. Check the visible pieces for a bit of sheen, which indicates quality. Inspect for tiny white spots - this means the dough was not kneaded thoroughly. Shake gently; if broken pieces are detected, this is a sign it has been on the shelf too long.
Fresh pasta should have a unifo
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