This is a classic recipe -- I use jarred sauce ONLY if I have to, otherwise I take the time and do it right. The carrot onion and celery are classic additions and yes, do use real Italian sausage, it does make a difference. Just one additional note, if I can't find real "manicotti" shells (as they are called in the US even if that isn't correct, as manicotti are indeed the same type of recipe using crepes instead of pasta) -- I purchase a package of chinese egg roll wrappers and fill and roll them. You may need to trim them a bit, depending on your pan size. Don't cook first, just put them in the pan seam side down and proceed same as with the stuffed tubes. Careful getting these out, it is harder to get them out whole than with the tubes, but still wonderful.
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This is a classic recipe -- I use jarred sauce ONLY if I have to, otherwise I take the time...