I’m a big fan of sweet and savory combos, and the squash here is just sweet enough to perfectly balance the onion, sage & cheeses. This the best thing I’ve eaten in a while and although my husband hates all squash, particularly butternut, he ate his plate without complaint! Success.
Squash, Sage & Ricotta Manicotti
Adapted from Everyday Food November 2009, “Squash, Sage & Ricotta Cannelloni”
3 T olive oil, plus more for baking dish and sheet
Salt & pepper
8 manicotti noodles
½ cup finely diced white onion
1 lb. cooked & mashed butternut squash
¼ c + 2 T parmesan
¼ c + 2 T milk
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves, plus 8-10 whole leaves
1/8 t ground nutmeg
2 c ricotta (15 oz)
¾ cup shredded mozzarella, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart or 8-inch square baking dish.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and transfer pasta to a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
In a small skillet, heat 1 T oil over medium. Add onion, season with salt & pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the squash, ¼ c parmesan, 2 T milk, sage, and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until thoroughly combined.
Put filling into a gallon-size Ziploc bag and cut the corner. Squirt the squash mixture into the manicotti tubes and place in prepared dish.
In a bowl, combine ricotta, ½ c mozzarella, ¼ c milk & 2 T parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Spread ricotta mixture over manicotti and top with ¼ c mozzarella. Bake until warmed through, about 25 minutes. Broil until top is browned, 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 2 T oil over medium-high. Fry whole sage leaves until crispy, 15-20 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Serve manicotti topped with fried sage.
*Veronica’s notes: the original recipe does not call for mozzarella, but for 1/2 c parmesan to be mixed with the ricotta and for another 1/4 cup to top the dish. I think this would taste better but I ran out of parmesan and had to use mozzarella. I will try it with the parm next time. Also, you can leave the parm out of the filling if you like, that was my addition and is prob not necessary if using it on top.