Tuesday, January 27, 2009
It seems that typically manicotti is filled with a near flavorless, texturally-nightmare inducing amalgamation of ricotta, Parmesan, and if you're lucky some herbs and salt. I'm not a big fan. While I love ricotta as much as the next bird, I prefer it to be mixed in with something of substance to provide a break in the rather gag-inducing texture - or baked in a cheesecake, you'll get no complaints from me on that one.
And so I embarked on a journey to fill a pasta shell with a stuffing of substance, one that would peel through the doldrums of stuffed pastas with it's ring of tummy-filling awesomeness. My manicotti manifestation would transform the world with it's revolutionary play of textures and flavors!
Or I saw an advert in Gourmet for stuffed shells and they sounded yummy.
One or the other. You decide.
I decided to go a very non-traditional route with these babies for really no other reason than that I wanted to use up some of the food I already had in the house. I much prefer that than running out to the grocery store to buy all new ingredients.
Be resourceful people, we're in a recession here.
Steak Stuffed Manicotti
6 1/2 oz steak
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen chopped collard greens, thawed and drained
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, in small dice
2 oz mozzarella cheese, in small dice
1/2 avocado, mashed
6 manicotti shells, boiled and drained
1 cup marinara sauce, preferably homemade
1 oz Idiazábal cheese, finely grated
Preheat oven to 375 F
Chop steak into 1/4 in dice, it's easier if it's partially frozen. In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Cook the shallots until softened, add steak. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When steak is cooked about half-way through add the collards. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a medium mixing bowl. Add minced garlic, cheddar, mozzarella, and avocado. Combine thoroughly. Using a teaspoon, or your fingers (which I prefer), fill each manicotti shell, taking care to fill completely but without tearing the delicate pasta. Lay side by side in rectangular casserole dish. Cover with marinara sauce and grated Idiazábal. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.