This past weekend, our little Play Gourmet got to show off some of his cooking skills and learn some new ones while he was at it. His grandparents came to visit, which meant there would be lots of cooking, eating, and general time spent in the kitchen. To kick things off, the little boy played host by sharing some of the salamis and cheeses that he had been collecting, not to mention some appropriate olives to compliment the spread.
The best part of the visit was when Grams and the boy conspired to make a real treat for everyone. Some home-made manicottis. This is one baked Italian dish that never leaves me feeling like I ate too much pasta. Before all of the magic, a nice pot of sauce gets started, so that it can continue to cook all day long.
Not after long, it is time to get our hands dirty. And the first step is to make some dough for the noodles.
The great thing about these noodles is the simplicity. It is nothing more than eggs and flour. To make the dough, we start with a bowl of flour, and crack some eggs in the middle. The ratio seems to works itself out by adding more flour or egg, until you have combined it all to the consistency you need.
Here is where the experience of rolling dough comes in. After all that dough making, the Little Play Gourmet is able to give his Grams a much need rest.
Like everything in the kitchen, attention to detail is the key to success.
After putting on a clinic for rolling dough, it is time to learn the next steps.
Once the dough is cut to size, it is time to make a couple manicottis together. Very carefully, they collaborate to make one beautiful roll, using a mixture of ground beef and pork.
And now, like a baby fawn learning to walk…
Now that he is sure footed, and gone through all the steps at least once, it is time to watch the well oiled machine of our baby manicotti factory.
Check out the pre-cooked fruits of all that labor…
Now, to prep for the oven. We actually want to boil the noodles and bake the manicotti at the same time. So the key to doing this is adding some water and sauce, prior to baking.
Then just a few minutes before it is ready to eat, we add more sauce, a little bit of mozzarella and finish.
Even the dog was willing to help clean up.