"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."


Bernice’s Manicotti

by  Phyllis Zeck

Standing L to R: Lois, Lorraine, Helen, Bernice (in black dress), Marion & Grace. Seated: Grandpa Charles Bihler (Bernice’s father) & Paul

Bernice Dorothy Bihler is Joe Del Prinicipe’s mother. Joe shared his mother’s Manicotti recipe with me and said that he recently taught his granddaughter how to make it. Joe’s mother Bernice and Bernice’s father Charles Bihler are in the photo to the left taken approx 1950. Also in the photo are Bernice’s sisters. The photo below is Bernice’s mother Augusta Voss Bihler.  Thank you Joe.  Lori and I hope that Holly makes this soon!

From Joe:  Below is a recipe handed down from my mother for my favorite Italian pasta dish. It is not a quick and easy recipe to produce, but I have always found it to be well worth every minute of prep time while enjoying the fruits of the labor, or maybe it is from enjoying the wonderful glass of sherry while I was making it.   

Augusta Voss

Marion, Augusta Voss Bihler, and Lois. Approx 1926

Manicotti – Meat & Cheese filled 
Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Pork
1 lb. Italian Sausage – casings removed
¼ Cup Cream Sherry
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
¾ cup Grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano Cheese
15 oz. Light Ricotta Cheese
2 ea. 4.5 oz Sliced Mushrooms

3 cans 6 oz. Tomato Paste
2 cans 14.5 oz. Diced Tomatoes
1 ½ Cup Water
¼ Cup Cream Sherry (Optional)
2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
2 tablespoon Oregano
1 tsp Salt

Manicotti Pasta – 14 Shells
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese Grated

Add olive oil to large 12” skillet, heat over medium heat. Add ground beef, pork, sausage, and mix in garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and cream sherry.

Stir frequently until brown and drain. Add parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and mushrooms to meat mixture. Mix thoroughly. Set aside while making sauce.
In a large mixing bowl mix diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cream sherry, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, water, and cream sherry (optional – sometimes I prefer to just drink it).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Using a 14” x 10” baking dish, place a ¼” layer of sauce on bottom.  Using the meat mixture, stuff each pasta shell and place in baking dish until all shells have been filled. Mix leftover meat mixture with remaining sauce and spoon evenly over pasta shells.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes.
Remove from oven and increase temperature to 375 degrees.
Remove foil and place shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over top of shells.
Place uncovered baking dish back in oven for 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown slightly.


8 Responses to Bernice’s Manicotti

  1. 5 years ago by Lori Anderson

    Since tomorrow is Holly’s birthday, I think it would be an excellent time for her to come over and make Joe’s recipe!

  2. 5 years ago by Holly Winike Hicks

    Wow. Both sisters have just verbally bullied me. The older one throws a challenge live, for all the family to see. Then the younger one add’s her rude two cents. Sigh… game on girls! I’ll pencil this in for a February event. Joe, I’m definitely up for the challenge!

    • 5 years ago by Joe Del Principe

      I must have missed seeing this posting until today. Actually the cream sherry was my idea as I love what it does to this dish, but Nancy is not a fan, thus it is optional. If you like cream sherry, you will like it here, but if not skip it. This is a very labor intensive recipe, which is why it is saved for special occasions. With St. Joseph’s Day comin up tomorrow, that would make great option for a family feast.

    • 5 years ago by Joe Del Principe

      Hey Holly, sorry I did not reply sooner, but I did not see this posting until just now. The cream sherry in this recipe is my idea, so if you are not a fan you can skip it, but I loved what it did for this dish. This would make a great option to build on for a great St. Joseph’s Day feast, which comes up tomorrow.

  3. 5 years ago by Ashley Johnson

    Sounds delicious! Can’t wait to eat it!

  4. 4 years ago by Marsha Deliso

    When you went to Opi you met a man named Nicoangelo Leone. Im trying to find out if he is still alive.

  5. 3 years ago by Mitch

    This was great to read. Bernice would be my great grandmother. Tracing my roots has helped me learn a lot, including my heritage from Norway and Germany. To see these photos and stories is amazing.


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