Sunday, January 11, 2009
Mmm.mmm.mmm. I've been making this manicotti recipe for years, and it is always a favorite in our house. A little lighter than the traditional recipe, it uses lowfat ricotta cheese, turkey sausage, and fat free, vitamin packed spinach rather than full fat alternatives. But trust me, it's not missing anything in the flavor department.
I start by preparing the pasta.
Drop the manicotti pasta into boiling water and cook until done.
Drain and lay them out to cool.
While the noodles are cooking, chop 1 cup of sweet red pepper and 1/4 cup of onion.
Brown 8 oz. of Italian turkey sausage with the onion and pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the three cheeses for the filling: Ricotta, Parmesean, and Mozzerella.
Add parsley, salt, pepper, and basil.
Now stir in the sausage mixture, 1 pkg. of spinach, thawed and drained, and 2 egg whites.
Mix 1 jar of spagetti sauce with 1/2 cup of water. Pour 1 cup into the bottom of a 13 X 9 in baking dish.
Now you're ready to start stuffing. This recipe makes plenty of filling, so don't hold back! Fill those manicotti tubes and full as you can without splitting the sides. Just a heads up: this step is the messiest and most time consuming. I hold the pasta in one hand and a spoon with a long handle in the other. After each spoonful, I pack the filling down a little.
Place the stuffed manicotti in the sauce coated baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce/water mixture over the stuffed noodles.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Then uncover the dish and sprinkle with more mozzarella. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Tah-dah! Manicotti, nice and hottie!
Sausage Cheese Manicotti
10 uncooked manicotti shells
8 ounces turkey Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small package of chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 egg whites
3 cups (24 ounces) fat-free ricotta cheese (I used lowfat)
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble sausage into a
nonstick skillet; add the red pepper and onion. Cook over medium heat until meat
is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Drain manicotti; set aside.
In a bowl, combine the sausage mixture, spinach, egg whites, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stuff into manicotti shells. Combine spaghetti sauce and water; spread 1 cup in an
ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Arrange shells over sauce; top with
remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Uncover;
sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until
cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 5 servings.
One serving: (2 stuffed shells) Calories: 465 Fat: 13 g Saturated Fat: 5 g Cholesterol: 51 mg Sodium: 1418 mg Carbohydrate: 48 g Fiber: 5 g Protein: 39 g