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05 October 2013

Italian Sausage Manicotti



September has come and gone without a For the Love of Dessert post ::shock face:: What is wrong with me!?! So, yes, school indeed started which is most my frequent reason for going MIA that and sheer laziness but can you judge me for the second one ;) And with the new school year brought lots of things for me to do. And I got too caught up with them all! Hopefully I can find a new groove to squeeze in things that I enjoy that do not involve school. I am not sure where to begin because so many little things have happened since I lasted posted. I guess I will just take the time to catch you up on what has been going on these past few weeks with me. Again-- nothing spectacular but lots of fun little things.

A big one is I officially (legally) changed my name to match the hubby. I know, I have been married for over a year, what took me so long? That would be school....and life. Well, my friend and labmate, Ashley, got married in August and so we went together to get our names changed. It was a great motivation for me because I had someone to do it with :)  So I am now S. Wager! It's still taking me some getting used to with the new signature-- but I am sure I will get the hang of it.

Lots of birthdays of some of my favorite people past this month: it was my sister's (I ordered her some really cute boots for fall/winter -- and I may have gotten boots for myself as well and by boots I mean two pairs :), one of my besties (Stephanie), and my other good friend Sophia. My other bestie (Pualina) asked Steph and I to be her co-Maids-of-Honor, and of course we said YES! This is 13 years of friendship in the making :) My sister, her hubby and my favorite cousin have booked their tickets to come here for Thanksgiving. They are going to spend their days in good ol' southern Tejas! Where the turkey comes deep fried ;) I am beyond excited!

Happy Birthday Steph!
As for the hubby and Ninja-- they are doing great :) Hubby's still the sweetest and Ninja, well, he is still the silliest! And me? I'm still enjoying food, especially chocolate -- some things will just never change ;)

He decided he was too good for walking.

yes, I will have a waffle with that chocolate and yes, I did also add whipped cream. When doing brunch, you must do it correctly!
Doesn't manicotti sound fancy?!? And way too sophisticated too make. A recipe we shall just leave to the Italians ;)?  I definitely thought so, but I found a recipe that is easy peasy to make! This is definitely an simple meal to whip up, but it does take some bake time-- so just keep that in mind. Not at all as hard as you would think and totally worth the make due to its yumminess factor. And by yumminess factor I mean that I made this twice, two days in a row because the hubby and I were addicted. Pasta, cheese, Italian sausage -- need I say more?

I made this manicotti recipe with two different sauces (marinara and vodka sauces, both were equally delicious -- the first set of pictures are marinara sauce and the second is vodka sauce). If I had to choose, I would go with the vodka sauce.







ITALIAN SAUSAGE MANICOTTI
Adapted from Heart Mind & Soul

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 350F Degrees

7 pieces of manicotti
1/2 pound, ground Italian sausage
1 1/4 c. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese + 1 c. for garnish
1 egg
1 tbsp. garlic or garlic powder 
1 tsp. cilantro + extra for garnish
salt and pepper to taste 
1/2-3/4 jar of marinara or vodka sauce

DIRECTIONS

Cooking the Italian Sausage:
In a large pot of salted, boiling water -- cook manicotti according to package directions. You want the manicotti to be slightly al dente, as that will make it easier when it is time for handling the manicotti in order to stuff them with the cheese filling. Once cooked, drain pasta and run cold water through, to prevent sticking. Lay on plate until needed.

Then in a large skillet over medium heat, cook Italian sausage. Italian sausage has its own fats in it, so I do not cook the sausage in oil. Cook Italian sausage until browned and completely cooked (no pink), approximately 10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Making the filling:
In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whip together until smooth and well incorporated. Then fold in slightly cooled, Italian sausage until evenly distributed in the cheese filling.

Assembling the Italian Sasusage:
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

[this is how I filled the manicotti but you can do it any way you prefer]. Fill a pipping bag, with approximately a 1 inch wide opening, with cheese filling. If you do not have a piping bag you can fill a ziplock back and snip off one of the bottom corners.  

Squeeze filling into each of the manicotti. I squeezed filling from one opening of the manicotti until the filling was coming back out, and then filled at the other end of the manicotti to ensure the manicotti was completely filled. Place manicotti into baking dish and repeat until all manicotti are filled. Cover with sauce. Garnish with remaining grated Parmesan cheese and cilantro. Bake for 35 minute or until cheese is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly.

Enjoy,
Chika

4 comments :

  1. I am trying this out tonight. Thanks for the recipe!

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  2. Jay12: Thanks for stopping by! How did it turn out?!?! And no problem :) Love hearing when people try out stuff from my blog!

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  3. can I substitute Cottage Cheese for Ricotta?

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    1. Hi Jennifer! Sorry to take so long to respond! I took a break from this blog for a bit, because school got crazy! I am not sure if I am too late, but I would not substitute cottage cheese for ricotta. Although the seems similar, they have different textures. Also, cottage cheese will be watery and runnier after baking (which do not make for yummy manicotti). Just my opinion though. Did you try it with cottage cheese? Thanks for stopping by!

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