Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sausage, Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

Easy Italian recipe
I love Italian food. It is so versatile and can be made any number of ways. This is especially true for pasta. And, they make great leftovers. I had not made a manicotti in a long time. Manicotti is great when you have leftovers because you can fill them up with just about anything. I've done it with seafood, ground beef and even a spinach & mushroom vegetarian version. This recipe takes care of leftover Italian sausage and spinach. It's very easy to make and the end result was very tasty. 

Here are the ingredients to get you started:

1 tray (7) of American Beauty Manicotti tubes
1/2 of a 15 oz container of low fat ricotta cheese
2 oz shredded park skim mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 jar of Prego light pasta sauce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 diced Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp basil
olive oil

First, boil the pasta on a low boil with a pinch of salt and a bit of olive oil until done. I add the olive oil while boiling to prevent the pasta from sticking. Rinse and set aside. 
Saute 1/4 of the sausage and sliced mushrooms in a bit of butter and olive oil. I use both since the butter adds flavor and the olive oil keeps it from sticking to the pan. Add the saute mix with the pasta sauce and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan and turn it to medium.
In a mixing bowl, add the remaining sausage, chopped garlic, Parmesan, spinach, 3/4 of the mozzarella, basil and the ricotta. Mix until it's all combined. Then fill the manicotti tubes with the mix. 

Lay them out into an ungreased casserole dish and cover with the sauce. Add the remaining shredded cheese on top and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

I served it with a Caesar salad and garlic bread. YUM!

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