I lived most of my life with my Nona, she taught me how to cook. When we had large family gatherings, she would make big dishes. My favorite was always the stuffed manicotti with ten different cheeses. I love pasta and I love cheese, so when my Nona taught me to make her manicotti I was ecstatic! I added my own twist to it when I was going to make it for a work gathering and found out a few of the people at my place of employment didn’t eat beef. I added ground turkey instead of beef, and my coworkers loved it so much that I continued to make it with the turkey. I have five boys, and one day my husband was making nachos for the boys at the same time as I was making my manicotti for a dinner I was going to have with some girlfriends. My husband sat the bowl of ground beef next to my manicotti and I started to add it to my sauce when my husband came in and stopped me. He told me that it was ground beef, so as not to be late for the event I just left what I had already added and then I added the remainder of my ground turkey. When I took my dish to my friend’s house, they loved it and thought it was an instant hit with all of my friends. So now I make my Nona’s Ten Cheese Manicotti with turkey and ground beef.
1 extra-large onion
6 green peppers
6 whole tomatoes
1 ½ tsp pepper
36 tomatoes, skinned
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp salt (add more to your taste)
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
12 bay leaves
5 cans tomato paste
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground turkey
2 cups of each type of cheese:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Manicotti Noodles: Boil your noodles drain and set it aside.
Sauce: In a large pot finely chop onions and green peppers, and pepper. Then add Italian seasoning, course chops the tomato and places them in the pot tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, spices and onion/pepper mix. Bring to a boil, then add tomato paste, turn down heat to simmer. Remove from heat then separate into two bowls. (If you don’t have time to make your own sauce, using a jar spaghetti sauce is fine as long as you still add the garlic, peppers and seasonings).
In a separate pan, brown the turkey and beef together, drain the excess oil and add a half to each portion of the two bowls of sauce. Then add ½ cup of each cheese to one of the bowls of sauce/meat mixture. Stir until blended.
Take a deep baking dish and spread a small portion of the regular sauce (the sauce without the cheese) and place along the bottom of the baking dish.
Spread a teaspoon of each type of cheese over the bottom of the baking dish. Then take one of the manicotti noodles and hold the bottom closed. Then take a teaspoon and stuff the noodle full of the meat mixture (The sauce with the cheese, beef, and turkey) until you can’t add anymore. Place it in the baking dish until the bottom of the dish is covered. Then take the regular sauce and put a light covering on top and then sprinkle each type of cheese on top and repeat until this dish is full.
Pour the remainder of the sauce on top and add the remainder of the cheese. Place your baking dish in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. This recipe can be made without meat for vegetarians.