Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stuffed Manicotti

We recently had friends over for dinner at our new place (finally)! We've lived here a month or so now, and we finally have things set up enough to do some entertaining.

You've got to love this wine, just from the label!
This meal started with the wine.  We discovered Da Vinci Chianti last year by accident and it has quickly become one of our favorites. It's a reasonably priced wine that has some wonderfully fruity notes but isn't too sweet. So, the idea was to find a dish to go with a great Italian wine. Where else to look but the wonderful world of Italian food?

We decided on a manicotti, so then the search was on for something that wouldn't totally over-do it calorically. (you have to save room for the wine and salad and garlic bread- plus the surprise coming for dessert!)

10 uncooked manicotti
cooking spray
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage to help make this healthier)
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
A little bit of "Il tricolore" (would be more so with red meat, I know)
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove casings from sausage. Add to pan, cook for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes or until tender.
3. Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in flour, cook 2 minutes stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat, gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Return pan to heat, bring to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat, stir in black pepper. Add 1/2 cup of milk mixture to sausage mixture; stir well.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
Note the "tears" in the pasta- ugh!! stuffed pastas!
5. Spoon about 1/3 cup sausage mixture into each manicotti; arrange manicotti in a single layer in a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella over manicotti; spread remaining milk mixture evenly over mozzarella. Top milk mixture with pasta sauce, spreading to cover. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

I did this recipe in stages, and it can even be frozen after it is put together then baked at a later time. My very Italian fiance has asked that next time we do a "traditional" manicotti- no sausage, no onion, no green pepper, just lots of cheese. He must like me in pants with elastic waistbands. He said he liked this recipe, but next time we must do it "right".


  1. Lovely manicotti! How did it taste? Hey, don't knock pants with elastic! I'm still sad I had to give up m maternity jeans! <ost comfortable things I have ever worn!

  2. The manicotti was good, definitely filling! I will admit I'm also used to the cheese stuffed, but this was a nice change. I seem to remember you having a pretty good recipe for manicotti that wasn't too unhealthy....