Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin & Sausage Manicotti

With the fall season in full swing, I thought I'd try to find recipes to use up some of the pumpkin puree I made a couple of weeks ago. Instead of the usual sweet recipe, I wanted to use the pumpkin puree in a savory dish. I've found a few recipes for pumpkin pasta or pumpkin lasagna. And so I settled with this recipe for Pumpkin & Sausage Manicotti from the Betty Crocker website, which came out pretty good. The recipe called for mozzarella cheese as its topping. However, I didn't have much. So I mixed my leftover mozzarella cheese with a Mexican blend cheese. The cheese flavor came out too strong, so I'll definitely stick with using all mozzarella cheese on my next attempt to make this recipe.

16 uncooked manicotti shells
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped sage leaves
1 egg
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese
3 cups Alfredo pasta sauce
fresh sage for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions, using minimum cook time.

2) In a medium skillet, cook sausage, garlic and 1 tablespoon sage over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until sausage is no longer pink. Drain.

3) In a large mixing bowl, beat egg. Stir in ricotta cheese, pumpkin, Parmesan cheese, pepper, 1 cup cheese, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sage and cooked sausage.

4) Spread 1 cup Alfredo sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Fill pasta shells with sausage mixture. Arrange the stuffed shells over the sauce. Pour the remaining 2 cups Alfredo sauce evenly over the shells. Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot. Uncover and top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Garnish with sage leaves.

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