Cheese and Zucchini Stuffed Manicotti
- Yield 8 servings
This summer pasta dish stars an easy, homemade tomato sauce, fresh zucchini squash and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Tomato Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 12 to 16 cups crushed fresh tomatoes, unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti shells (14 shells), cooked until al dente and drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups finely chopped zucchini squash
- 32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Chopped fresh basil, mint and oregano
- To make sauce, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; saute about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, salt and sugar, and simmer over medium-low heat 1 to 2 hours, until a thickened and a lot of the liquid is evaporated. Add remaining 3 ingredients and cook 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and saute until browned and crisp-tender, about 7 minutes.
- Combine ricotta, egg, salt, cheese and fresh chopped herbs (to taste) in a large bowl. Gently stir in squash. Stuff manicotti with squash mixture (a long handled teaspoon works well). Place in baking pan and cover with 4 cups sauce. Bake 40 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.