This classic casserole is terrific to serve at more casual Christmas gatherings. It's so special because it features both a white and red sauce.
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pound ground beef or bulk Italian sausage
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package (8 ounces) manicotti shells, cooked and drained
- WHITE SAUCE:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- In a saucepan, combine the water, tomato paste, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain and set aside.
- Place spinach in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Drain on paper towels; finely chop. Add to beef. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cream, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Stuff into manicotti shells. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Place manicotti over sauce.
- For white sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Pour over manicotti. Top with remaining tomato sauce.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Special Manicotti in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2006, p44
Full-Bodied White Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.
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