Since finding this particular recipe in 2007, I've made and liked this Manicotti pasta stuffed with sausage, chopped spinach, and ricotta, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, eggs; topped with a favorite spaghetti sauce.
For me, the 'filling' mix below ends up being enough to stuff about 23 of the large Manicotti pasta tubes-- this means you'll need a very large baking dish, or use two separates. Of the two 14-ct. boxes of Manicotti, there may be about five 'left over' (empty).
- 2 boxes (8 oz. each) Manicotti pasta tubes (this may total 28 'tubes')*
- 1 lb bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained (I used a one pound tube of sage flavored sausage). To get more fat out of the sausage, I start frying with water added. When browned, I drain fat off and 'rinse more off' by pouring very hot water over sausage in a colander.
- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed and drained
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 cups ricotta cheese (can use low-fat variety)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
*You can also use the jumbo SHELL pasta (you'll need about 32 of them) and they make for a super pretty finished dish, but... although I've used them, I don't care for how, when boiling them, they like to 'nest' into each other causing some to end up with little rips as they are pulled apart.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and add 1 minute to that. Drain and rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Combine remaining ingredients, except spaghetti sauce, in a large bowl and mix very well.
- Fill each pasta tube. (I like to use my large pastry bag for this-- without using a special tip you can squirt the filling the length of the tube with a little "oomph", but a plastic bag with a snipped off corner m-i-g-h-t work, too.)
- Spray your baking dish with non-stick. It works great to put down a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Place the filled pastas in the dish.
- Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce. (I used Chunky Ragu Garden Combination.)
- Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 30-40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if you notice the top getting darker than you'd like. (If baking from frozen state, add minimum of 30 minutes and then check for doneness.)
- To freeze: It is best to freeze before baking. You may freeze individually wrapped filled pasta without sauce, or freeze sauce-topped shells in a baking dish (tightly covered). How I freeze these 'individual filled pastas' without the tomato sauce on them: Space them on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper; freeze overnight; remove them, vacuum seal the number you want in a bag; date/label and return to freezer.
- Yield: 10-12 servings