Monday, March 26, 2012

Maniladas with Cheese Sauce and Salsa Verde

Maniladas, a cross between a Manicotta and an Enchilada. A fusion of Mexican and Italian. This is an ingenious creation of Sunny Anderson on the Food Network. I just remembered my mouth watering when I watched her make this dish. It sort of reminds me of the Salsa Verde Sour Cream Enchiladas I make so often. But what a great idea to make it into a pasta dish.

The original recipe, I felt, was pretty fattening. It required the use of 2 cups of heavy cream. But I substituted it with low fat milk to make the cheese sauce. I also used a short cut by purchasing a store-bought salsa verde instead of making it from scratch. With all the substitutions, this dish came out so good that hubby absolutely enjoyed it. This is another great pot luck dish that I'm sure would be another hit like the Salsa Verde Enchiladas.

1 (8 oz) package Manicotti shells
2 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 rotisserie chicken (or 3 cooked chicken breasts), shredded
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup prepared salsa verde (or green enchilada sauce)

1) Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Boil manicotti shells for 8 minutes. Drain shells and place on a platter in a single layer.

2) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in shredded chicken, tomatoes, chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sour cream until incorporated.

3) Stuff manicotti shells with chicken filling and arrange in a 9 x 12 baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa verde over the manicotti shells. Set aside.

Cheese sauce
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream or milk, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheese (any cheese you prefer)

1) In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream or milk and continue cooking until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add shredded cheese and stir until well incorporated.

2) Reduce temperature of oven to 350 deg F. Pour cheese sauce over prepared manicotti shells and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese sauce becomes bubbly. Serve hot, garnished with more salsa verde and chopped cilantro.

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