Sausage and Spinach Baked Manicotti

December 23, 2011

This recipe is loosely based on a sausage and peas stuffed manicotti recipe by Giadi De Laurentiis. I made a few tweaks and served this up pre-15 k race for some friends. It was a hearty dinner that got us through the race!

You will need:

  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c cream
  • 3 c grated Italian hard cheese (ex. Pecorino Romano, Asiago etc.)
  • 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken sausage, casings removed and broken into chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 3/4 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained and squeezed of excess water
  • 1/2 c skim ricotta
  • 12 manicotti shells
  • 1 jar (26 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium non-stick saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in the hard Italian cheese until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onions and garlic. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. As you cook, continue to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cook until the wine has just about evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the spinach, ricotta and 1 cup of the cheese sauce to the sausage mixture. Stir to mix evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the manicotti and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  9. Spread half of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Using a small spoon or your fingers, fill the manicotti with the sausage and cheese mixture. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.
  11. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the filled shells.
  12. Drizzle the remaining cheese sauce over the top of the tomato sauce.
  13. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 30-40 minutes.

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