Sunday, May 24, 2009

Picadillo Stuffed Manicotti in a Bechamel Sauce

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My kids, like Pavlov's dog,were conditioned to expect a certain sequence to their meals. If we had artichokes with hollandaise sauce one night, it was a sure bet that meringues were around for dessert. On those weeks when Picadillo appeared one day, they could bank on their favorite, Little Pigs in a Blanket, to appear a couple of days later. They are still so conditioned, at ages 35 and 37, that on my last trip to Atlanta last week, and after a meal on Friday of Picadillo with the works, the famous pigs were requested for my last night. Now my daughter in law, as well as her grandparents, who received the leftover leftovers, are new fans to the dish.

I really don't know where they got the name, but I can certainly see why. They are delicious, but definitely not for people on a diet or with a heart condition.

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 box manicotti
4 cups leftover Picadillo
8 TB butter
8 TB. flour
4 Cups Hot milk
2 oz leftover tomato paste
1 1/2 Cup. Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste.

You can make the full recipe or half depending how much Picadillo you have left. Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Rinse in cold water and dry with paper towels. In a skillet warm the Picadillo and add the 2 oz leftover tomato paste.

If you are making the full recipe, melt 8TB butter, add 8 TB flour, cook for about a minute and add the 4 cups of hot milk, a little at a time, to make the Bechamel sauce. I use a whisk to stir. When the sauce comes to a boil, it is done. Add salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese. Add a couple of TBs to the Picadillo, tomato sauce mix and stuff the manicotti. Butter a 9 X 13 casserole dish, add a couple of TB of the white sauce to the bottom of the pan and lay the stuffed manicotti, side by side in one layer. The ones that don't fit can be placed in another 8x8 glass pan or 2 individual dishes of two each. Cover the pigs with the rest of the white sauce, add the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top, dot with butter and put in the oven at 350. Once the sauce starts to bubble, in about 30 minutes, put the dish in the broiler until browned, 5-10 minutes. Watch it, it depends on your oven. Make sure you serve with a green salad, some bread sticks and an inexpensive Italian wine.

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