Tonight I made a stuffed manicotti with a roasted red pepper & ricotta filling, baked in red sauce reduced from tinned tomatoes, an onion and various herbs, broiled Italian sausage, then the whole shebang baked in a dish and topped with provolone. I made a salad with green leaf lettuce, shallots, mushrooms, bleu cheese, carrots & croutons and topped it with creamy Caesar dressing.
The sauce was canned crushed tomatoes with a whole onion skinned & split, left to simmer until the tomatoes melted & the onion sweated all its goodness into the sauce, plus a reduction of wine & the dregs of the tomato tin from a bottle of Nero D'Avola from Trader Joe's I'd opened over the weekend. Just simmer that all for 30 minutes & it's magic.
All the manicotti I've ever made has always torn because you boil it & the pasta agitates in the roiling water, but I just learned that all boiling does is hydrate dried pasta, so if you want that just soak it in salted water for maybe 30 minutes & it's the same result, but the pasta doesn't tear. Then I piped the stuffing into it using a ziploc bag as a piping bag, and baked the whole thing at 375 for about half an hour. I finished it under the broiler with the cheese on top.
Looked like this: