My Sicilian grandmother taught me about flavoring all the components in a recipe, down to the salt in the pasta water. This recipe honors that, by adding lots of spice to the cheese filling.
Regarding the ingredients themselves, use the best and most healthy versions available; use with organic, fresh, and local versions if you can.
- 1 box Barilla manicotti shells or large stuffing shells
- 1T olive oil
- 1 lb hot turkey sausage
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 jar Meesh’s Marinara (either version, Original or No salt, No sugar added)
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella
- 32 oz container ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups raw, finely diced up kale or spinach
- 2 tsps Viva Italia! spice blend by Your Spice of Life
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the sausage from the casing, and brown it in a heavy skillet with the olive oil until brown.
- Add the diced carrot and onion, and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add the Meesh’s Marinara to the sausage mixture, and mix well. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for 1/2 the time stated on the box. Drain (do not rinse) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine 1/4 of the mozzarella, and all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Spread 3/4 cup of the sausage/sauce mixture on the bottom of a 13×9 pan.
- Gently fill each shell or manicotti with the cheese mixture. Place in rows in the baking pan.
- Spread the remaining sausage/sauce over the top of the filled manicotti.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top.
If you have cheese filling left over, place it in small dots over the pasta.
Cover the baking dish loosely with foil, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the dish is bubbling.
This can be served right away, or saved for the next day. It also freezes well.
About the author:
Laura Griffin knows spice! She’s the happy owner of Your Spice of Life, an organic spice company in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains. She’s immersed in the farm-to-table movement, and adores cooking with ingredients from people that she knows and respects. Her customers appreciate Laura’s attention to quality and honesty in her 100% organic, handmade products that range from spice blends (like the Viva Italia! in this recipe) to nutty, fruity oatmeal to her line of spiced chocolate bark. You can find more of Laura’s original recipes on her blog, www.yourspiceoflifeblog.wordpress.com