Broccoli and Ricotta Manicotti

February 07, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Broccoli and Ricotta Manicotti

Nothing says comfort food more than a plate of pasta that’s steaming hot and right out of the oven. This broccoli and ricotta stuffed manicotti is kicked up a notch by a flavorful, yet oh so easy to make, homemade tomato sauce. The filling is so creamy that it’s hard to believe that it’s made with skim milk and fat-free ricotta.

Broccoli and Ricotta Manicotti
adapted from The Best Ever Vegetarian Cookbook

2 teaspoons olive oil
12 dried manicotti (or cannelloni) tubes, 3 inches long
4 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups panko (or breadcrumbs)
2/3 cup skim milk
4 Tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 cup no-fat ricotta cheese
pinch of grated nutmeg
6 Tablespoons Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds (or pine nuts)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 28oz can organic crushed tomatoes with basil
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons black olives, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Cook 8-9 minutes until pasta is completely cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking and set aside. (When working on the rest of the steps, check to make sure the pasta isn’t drying out. Brush a little water on the pasta if it is…)

While pasta is cooking, steam the broccoli for 10 minutes until tender (not mushy).  After steaming the broccoli let it cool a bit, then put into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine panko and milk and oil. Stir until the panko is softened. Add the ricotta, broccoli, nutmeg and 4 Tablespoons for the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, black olives and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.

Spoon the broccoli and cheese mixture into a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped. (A tip – an easy method for spooning the mixture in the bag is to  put the bag in a wide mouthed container and fold the top over the sides. This will hold the bag open.) Open the pasta tubes and squeeze the mixture into each. Make sure to not overfill the pasta.

Pour the simmered sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking pan. Place the filled pasta tubes into the baking pan. Brush the tops of the pasta with a little olive oil. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese and almonds on top.

Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes – until golden.

Classic Romesco Sauce

June 22, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Other, Sauce/Gravy

Heads up: This recipe takes a little bit of work. (However, I have a small kitchen so I’m not sure if most of the labor came from me having to try to find counter space and or if it was truly a lot of steps.) This recipe requires broiling, roasting, mashing, soaking, toasting, blending, chopping and more. But, man, is the work worth it. The roasted goodness of the onion and tomatoes, the zing of the red wine vinegar and the smokiness of the ancho chilies creates a deeply flavored sauce. This sauce is so versatile that it is going to be poured over pasta, vegetables and anything else I find for the next week. I just need to remember to save enough to freeze so I can enjoy it at another time.

Classic Romesco Sauce
Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian

  • 2 medium onions, peeled but left whole
  • 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes
  • 3 dried ancho chilies
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Turn on the broiler. Spread the onions garlic, and tomatoes on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.

vegetable roasting for romesco sauce

Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the onions, garlic, and tomatoes as the outsides char. The garlic will get done first. Remove the garlic cloves and continue for another 10 minutes or so until the onions and tomatoes are also browned on all sides. Remove the tomatoes at this stage.

roasted garlic and tomatoes for romesco sauce

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake the onions for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they have softened all the way to the inside. Meanwhile, remove the stems and seeds of the ancho chilies by cutting the tops off and shaking out as many seeds as possible.

ancho chile for romesco sauce

Put the chilies in a small pot along with the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.

ancho chile for romesco sauce

Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the chiles are soft. Turn the heat off. Let the ancho mixture sit, covered, for another 5 minutes, or until the peppers are very soft. Cool slightly in the liquid, then remove the peppers from the liquid and peel away the skin. (If the skin does not peel easily, leave it; it will come off later. ) Remove any seeds that are still clinging to the flesh. Save any vinegar left in the pot.

ancho chili for romesco sauce

Put the tomatoes and ancho chilies into a coarse sieve set over a bowl. Using your fingers or a wooden spoon, push out as much pulp as possible. Make sure you collect all the pulp on the underside of the sieve as well.

roasted tomatoes for romesco sauce

ancho chili for romesco sauce

romesco sauce

Put the almonds in a small cast-iron pan and set over medium heat. Stir the almonds quickly for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a clean spice grinder. (Note: I do not have a spice grinder, so I put the almonds in my food processor.)

almonds for romesco sauce

When the onions are very tender, remove them from the oven and discard the charred outer layer. Chop them coarsely. Peel the garlic cloves.

roasted onions for romesco sauce

Put the ancho-tomato mixture, onions, garlic, ground almonds, oil, leftover vinegar, if any, and salt into a blender.

blending romesco sauce

Blend to a puree. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin