We were on the road seven weeks this summer. One trip was personal; the rest were business. Normally when we're out of town, we like to eat at restaurants that are local to the area. An exception to this is when we see a restaurant we've eaten at before that doesn't have a location in the city where we live. On one trip, we saw an Italian restaurant that my husband and I used to frequent when we lived in another city. We decided to take a walk down memory lane and eat there one night. Our son said he wasn't in the mood for Italian, so my husband and I went without him.
I'm not a fan of nonstick cookware, but I absolutely love a nonstick pot when I cook pasta. Too bad I didn't have one when I first got married! When you cook pasta, be sure to add enough salt to the water so it tastes like saltwater. If the water isn't salty enough, the cooked pasta won't be either. Maybe my first experience cooking manicotti scarred me, because ever since then I use a wooden spoon to stir the manicotti instead of a pasta fork.
While the manicotti is cooking, spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
Make the filling by combining eggs, seasonings and a combination of Mozzarella, Parmesan and Ricotta cheeses. Ricotta is a slightly grainy white cheese that can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet dishes such as cheesecake and cannoli. It's sold in a carton like sour cream and cottage cheese and is usually found near them or the cream cheese at the grocery store.
When the manicotti is done, rather than dumping them into a colander, I use a slotted spoon and scoop them out one at a time. When they've all been removed, pat them dry with a paper towel. This step may seem unnecessary, but it's actually quite important. It keeps the sauce from being diluted with the residual water. Lay the manicotti in a single layer on a cutting board or other work surface. Don't fret if some of the manicotti tore; they can still be used.