Found this one on Allrecipes.com and tweaked the ingredients just a bit to fit the picky Italian DH. Ground sausage as opposed to ground beef gives the dish much more flavor. Do ahead tip would be to stuff the shells the night before, place in red sauce, refrigerate, and then make the white sauce just prior to cooking. Watch the amount of chicken bouillon as it can make the white sauce way too salty. Serve with some garlic stuffed/sauteed artichokes (Garlic Sauteed Artichokes) and a small garden salad.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground sausage
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 (12 ounce) package manicotti
- 1 1⁄2 lbs fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granule
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Saute onions, garlic, ground sausage, and beef until meat is well browned and crumbled.
- Prepare Manicotti shells as per package directions except cut the cook time in HALF.
- Drain and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from cracking.
- To the ground pork/beef mixture add the spinach and ricotta cheese.
- When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs.
- Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Gently drain the manicotti shells and carefully stuff each one with the meat and cheese mixture; place shells in prepared dish.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in flour and chicken bouillon.
- Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble.
- Stir in half and half and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
- Pour or ladle the sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.
- Stir the basil into the remaining spaghetti sauce.
- Carefully pour or ladle spaghetti sauce over the white sauce, trying to layer the sauces without mixing.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more.
I followed the concept of the recipe and it was amazing with the béchamel sauce. I didn't want to fuss with sausage casing which I remove on sausage. So I added sage and a touch of cayenne for spice in the ground meat. I made the cream sauce using my own measurements but kept the same ingredients and I have to say it was the best Italian dish I have made so far. Thanks for the great idea.
I modified this one slightly because I needed a smaller amount, and to make use of what's on hand. I used a pound of ground beef and left the sausage out. Left out the onion due to allergies. Used dried basil/parsley. For boullion, I used "better than boullion" paste. I didn't have any parmesan, I topped with shredded cheddar as it was all I had.
The boullion paste did NOT work. It instantly solidified into chicken-concrete on my whisk.
Other than that, everything came together nicely. I thought it was a nice, solid four star meal. Pretty and tasty. My husband, however, did not enjoy it at all.
I'll be having lefties for a yummy lunch tomorrow, but I won't make it again simply because I was the only one who liked it.
This was delicious. Did not use 10 cloves of garlic but instead used a big spoonful of my roasted garlic paste. The filling is enough for 18 to 20 shells. Very important not to overcook the shells before stuffing them. The white sauce elevates this dish from everyday to special occasion. Thanks for a great recipe.