© 2013 mathewguiver

Manicotti stuffed with brussels spouts, parsnips, and sage (baked in alfredo)

Last weekend my boyfriend David and I hosted dinner for a few friends of his that were visiting from out of town. He explained to me that they’re pretty big meat eaters, so I was determined to serve a meatless meal that was hearty and delicious. I also wanted to do something with a fall flavor profile, and decided to go with parsnips and brussels sprout stuffed manicottis baked in a fresh garlic alfredo.

As you might have predicted, the dish came out incredible. Obviously. If it wasn’t good then I probably wouldn’t be writing a blog about it. The cheese and fall vegetable stuffing was flavorful and interesting, and the alfredo sauce (which was infused with a bit of nutmeg) really rounded out the dish nicely. Each bite is like a creamy autumn delight for your tastebuds.

Although I often make my own pasta, I don’t have a fancy pasta machine, and rolling out pasta dough by hand is a bit of a pain in the ass. If I’m making a lasagna or raviolis where the exact shape of the pasta doesn’t really matter then I’d much rather make the pasta. However, when I need a shape specific pasta (like manicottis, cannellonis, or even mini bow ties), then I’ll definitely grab a box of pasta at the grocery store.

Ingredients:

3 parsnips
A dozen or so brussels sprouts
1 potato
1/3 c ricotta
1/3 c shredded parmesan (plus more for garnishing)
Garlic powder
White pepper
Black pepper
Kosher salt
Canola oil
Olive oil
Box of manicotti pasta
Alfredo sauce
Sage

Directions:

1. We’ll start by prepping all of the stuffing ingredients, so peel and chop up your parsnips.

2. Remove ends and loose leaves of brussels sprouts, and cut in half.

3. Place brussels sprouts and parsnips on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

4. Drizzle with a hefty Tbsp of canola oil, then sprinkle with salt, white pepper, and garlic powder. Using your hands, toss the vegetables ensuring every piece is coated with oil and seasoning. Spread out the veggies, and make sue that all of the brussels sprouts are laying cut side down.

Edgy tip! Always season as you go for multiple layers of flavor. It may seem redundant to add salt and pepper before roasting the vegetables, then to season again when mixing your filling but it will give you more rounded flavor profile. 

5. Roast in an oven preheated to 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

6. Once the vegetables have cooled, transfer to a cutting board and cut into small pieces.

7. Rinse and chop a potato into small cubes. Cook in heavily salted water till fork tender, then strain.

8. Bring a new pot of salted water to a rapid bowl. Add manicotti and let cook for a few minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the package. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so you want it to be quite a bit underdone. If you cook the pasta all the way at this stage, then it won’t hold it’s shape, and your final dish will fall apart.

9. Toss your chopped vegetables into a new bowl. Mash the potato cubes with your hands and combine with the vegetables, ricotta, parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and your salt and peppers.

10. Mix, then taste, and add additional seasoning if necessary.

11. Strain and rinse manicotti, then immediately stuff with your cheese and vegetable mixture. If you let the pasta sit for more than a minute or two it will begin to dry out and become difficult to stuff.

My best advice for stuffing manicottis? Put away the spoon and get your hands dirty. You can use your fingers to easily push the cheese and vegetable mixture all the way through the manicotti. Not only will you have a better stuffed manicotti, but using your hands greatly reduces the amount of time it will take you to stuff your pasta.

12. Place stuffed manicottis in a baking dish in a single layer. Do not build a second layer, if you have extra manicottis then start a second baking dish.

13. Pour alfredo sauce over manicottis until they are just covered. You want to make sure that all of the pasta is submerged in sauce, otherwise it will burn.

14. Bake at 370 degrees fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until the edges of your dish have gone brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

15. While the pasta dish is baking, do a chiffonade style chop of your sage.

16. To serve, plate 2 or 3 manicottis, then top with a sprinkle of shredded parmesan and sage.

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