I would like to cling to these last days of Summer and enjoy them sitting on the beach somewhere sipping a drink with a little umbrella. Doesn't that sound nice and relaxing? In real life on the ranch, there's not a beach in sight, not even a drink with an umbrella. This is the week that I realize that Summer is fleeting. My boys are off to football practice, which means school is just around the corner and just past that is Fall.
I can never figure out where the time has gone and can someone tell me how I am the mother of a senior in high school? Okay, before I start getting teary-eyed let's talk about some of the fun things of Fall. Slightly cooler weather, yes please! Notice I said slightly- not below zero- cooler, thank you. Warm bubbling casseroles right out of the oven, fresh apple pie, those are things I can look forward to.
Elk Manicotti is the kind of meal that the guys look forward to at the supper table. It is hearty and the boys love that it is made with wild game taken on our land. If you aren't into wild game or can't get your hands on any, feel free to substitute beef or even sausage. It is really a meal in it's self but a green salad and crusty bread are really great along side.
Are you clinging to Summer or looking forward to Fall? Don't tell me if you are hanging on the beach this week, I would be jealous!
- 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided use
- 1 pound ground elk (beef or venison can be substituted)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 12 manicotti cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut into ribbons for garnish
- ½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes for garnish
In a large skillet, add tomatoes, butter, onion over low heat. Season with sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile add ground elk in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir often to brown all sides. Drain meat if necessary and set aside.
Pour tomato mixture into a blender or food processor and process until fairly smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour back into skillet and add chicken broth and half and half, heating over low heat until it starts to bubble. Stir in browned elk. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, eggs, garlic salt, and basil. Stuff into cooked manicotti shells. I find it easiest to stuff from both ends, pushing the filling towards the middle.
Spoon about ¾ cup of sauce into bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place stuffed manicotti over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
Garnish with basil and tomatoes.