Monday, June 18, 2012

Manicotti and Asparagus with Simplified Bolognese Sauce

Manicotti is tube-like pasta that I think it would be so much fun to cook with and I’ve been meaning to make a dish with manicotti for a while but didn’t really have a chance to do it. So, I decided to make my own easy-lazy version of Bolognese sauce over manicotti filled with blanched asparagus. Since the original Bolognese sauce is cooked with the combination of ground meat – pork, beef and veal and use pancetta to flavor the sauce, milk is also added; and all day simmering is the key of this sauce, my version of this easy-lazy Bolognese sauce takes under an hour from the start to finish and no milk added. Surprisingly, it turns out to be one really good and satisfying dish (approved by my hubby) with the healthier version – less carb from pasta and more of the yummy goodness from the asparagus and the other fresh ingredients. 

So, would you come along taking a short cut with me? 
Yumm... -^_^-

What you need:
12 oz fresh asparagus cut off the woody parts
4 tubes manicotti pasta
200g ground pork meat
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can/8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried oregano
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
*mini bell pepper is optional

- cook manicotti in a medium  pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt until they are well done, about 7 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water and set aside
- blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and quickly remove when they turn bright green using tongs or a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water to preserve the bright green color
- Insert about 4-5 spears of asparagus into the middle tube-like of cooked manicotti, set aside


- add the olive oil into a large sauce pan over medium-high heat
- add chopped red onion and stir for a few minute then add garlic, grated carrot and stir another 3-4 minutes
- add ground pork meat, and cook to brown them for about 7-10 minutes
- add tomato sauce, chopped fresh oregano, and red wine, stir well to combine all the flavors
- add salt and ground black pepper to taste
- reduce the heat and simmer for another 20-25 minutes
 - turn off the heat and add chopped fresh basil
- pour the sauce over manicotti filled asparagus and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
*garnish with thin slice of mini sweet bell pepper is optional


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