I don’t remember why I decided I *really* wanted to stuff and cook manicotti.  I suspect it may have had something to do with the utter triumph of stuffing pierogi back in May.  We made two kinds: sausage with red sauce, and spinach with ricotta (obviously, the photo is of the spinach variety).  Both were good, but the spinach was really great.  I’m excited to make these again sometime.  Gastronomike says he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about: they were good, but it’s basically lasagna in a different shape.

Alas, since it’s taken a while for me to post this, I’ve misplaced the *exact* recipes we used.  Never fear, though, what follows are very close approximations:

First, boil 1 box manicotti according to directions for quite al dente.  Drain and rinse with cool water.  Set aside.

Sausage filling:

  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 jar marinara (reserve half a cup or so)
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1 cup parmesan

Brown sausage, onion, and garlic, then add wine and simmer until it reduces.  Add marinara and basil, simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in ricotta and parmesan.

Spinach filling:

  • big bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz shredded mozarella (reserve half for topping dish)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Quickly wilt spinach in a just-moistened pan on the stove.  Beat egg in bottom of bowl.  Add ricotta, mozarella, pepper, nutmeg, and spinach, mixing until well blended.

Spread a spoonful of reserved marinara on the bottom of baking dish (any size you want, really– we filled a 10×10 dish with 8 manicotti, and froze two small dishes with 3 manicotti each).  Carefully place manicotti in dish.  Spoon more marinara over top and top with reserved mozarella.  Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 5-10 minutes until cheese browns.