Fried Lasagna Bites
- 14 to 16 manicotti shells
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 white onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella
- 1 quart cottage cheese, strained
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta, cook for 6 minutes, then drain and spread out on a sheet pan to cool.
Heat a large saute pan with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, ground beef and onions; saute for 3 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, basil and black pepper. Cook for about 8 more minutes, until the meat has browned. Stir in 1/2 cup of canned tomato sauce and cook until heated through. Set mixture aside to cool in a large bowl.
Add the rest of the canned sauce into saute pan and stir in the red pepper flakes.
Fold the mozzarella and cottage cheese and into the cooled meat mixture. Stuff each cannelloni shell with the meat mixture and then place the shells in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up. When ready to fry, slice shells into thirds.
Preheat oil to 350 degrees F.
Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs into separate bowls.
Dredge the shells in the flour, then eggs, and then bread crumbs.
Fry the bites until they are golden brown and crispy; about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with the spicy tomato sauce.
Recipe courtesy of Aaron McCargo Jr.