Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lasagna Stuffed Manicotti Recipe

The winning main course, it was neck and neck with the lamb, but this turned out amazingly delicious.  I send my heartfelt thanks out to those of your that have supported me in this and all of you amazing people that voted!  This wouldn't be a success without you!

Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp Mediterranean spiced sea salt
1/4 tsp basil
Pinch ground nutmeg
 Noodles & Filling:
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk cottage cheese (Or ricotta)
2 Tbsp Mascarpone
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 lb ground Italian sausage
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 Zucchinis (peeled and chopped)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 tsp Basil
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
14 uncooked manicotti noodles
24 oz jar Tomato Basil Sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the seasoning into the bechamel sauce.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Brown the sausage until thoroughly cooked.  Saute' the zucchini in the butter until softened. 
Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water.  Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
Butter a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. 
Fill the manicotta noodles one at a time as full as you can without ripping them.  Layer them in the baking dish close together, you will not have any room for an extra stuffed manicotti noodle when you are done.  
Pour the sauce on top of the noodles and top with the remaining cheese.  Spray the side of the tin foil that will be facing the cheese with non-stick cooking spray to keep it from sticking to the cheese.  Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve & Enjoy!
Brown the sausage and melt the butter
Add the ingredients for the bechamel sauce and get it cooking
Start up the manicotti noodles and finish cooking the bechamel sauce
Saute' the zucchini slices
Add the filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl to whisk together
Lay the manicotti noodles out flat on a baking sheet to dry so as not to stick to one another
Pour the bechamel sauce in the bottom of the baking dish
Fill the manicotti noodles and layer in the dish
Cover with the sauce and add extra basil if you would like
Top with the remaining cheese
Remove the foil and return to the oven to melt the cheese
Remove from the oven and let cool
Serve & Enjoy!