Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
When the whole family is home for the holidays, it's nice to have several recipes on hand that you can put together in the afternoon while they're off doing something else, and then be able to sit down together at the table for supper. This recipe is one of THOSE....put together and gather 'round the table to inhale it! Better double this recipe when you have a crowd! The crusty top will be so inviting you'll be drooling from just looking at it! This one comes from Gooseberry Patch's Christmas book (2008).
- 12 manicotti
- 1⁄4 cup butter, divided
- 4 1⁄2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 (10 ounce) box spinach, thawed & squeezed
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese that you've whirled in the blender)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄3 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups half-and-half cream or 2 cups cream
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded cheese (whatever you like)
The All-Important Crusty Topping
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (combination) or 2 cups cheddar cheese (combination) or 2 cups parmesan cheese (combination)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain & set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350; grease a 13x9 pan; set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 T of the butter in a large skillet, add the 'shrooms and garlic; saute until mushroom liquid is absorbed; transfer to a large bowl.
- Melt remaining tablespoon of butter; drop spinach bits into that and stir to coat--quickly; add this to the mushroom mixture.
- Stir in ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.
- Spoon mixture into a LARGE ziplock bag, snip the corner off and squeeze filling into shells; place shells into prepared pan.
- Melt remaining butter, over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth; cook ONE minute to let it become golden brown.
- Whisk in half-n-half/cream, cook at medium heat, whisking constantly until it's thick and bubbly; stir in salt; add favorite cheese, stirring well until it is completely melted; pour over stuffed shells.
- Toast the bread, cut into small cubes (toast again to get maximum crispiness--without overly BROWNING).
- Combine in a bowl, the crumbs with shredded cheese mixture and melted butter; toss this and then sprinkle over the shells.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes (bubbly).
I was impressed with this recipe. Stuffing the manicotti was a little tricky for me since i've never done that sort of thing. But the outcome was delicious! I plan to make it again.