I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table, eating chia pudding with pomegranate, and staring out the window, procrastinating my need to get ready for the day, and anxiously awaiting the next fall of snow. We had a tiny little fall of snow while we were sleeping, enough to just barely cover the rooftops, but it’s all melted since. Snow makes me so GIDDY! This clip from Gilmore Girls accurately describes how I feel about it. (Gosh I stinking love that show.)
When I left Minnesota for college, I was all good RIDDANCE because I felt so done with the Midwest, the small town we lived in, and the horrendous, never ending winters. I find myself missing that place more than I ever imagined, including the insanely cold weather and piles of snow. Utah still gets lots of snow, but the experience isn’t quite the same 🙂
Manicotti can be somewhat of a painstaking meal to make because of the time it takes & steps involved (I’ll be honest, after I was done making this manicotti, it looked like a hurricane had gone through my kitchen), but my gosh, is it worth it. It’s a perfect Saturday or Sunday night meal, for when you have a couple extra hours and are willing to dedicate it to a true labor of love. I wasn’t sure if these flavors would marry well or not, but I think I willed them to, haha! I told them, I’m not going to spend this much money on a recipe idea to have it go to waste, so y’all better figure it out! And behold…these flavors blended so nicely together. Spicy chorizo, creamy mascarpone, piney sage, and sweet butternut squash. It’s the perfect transition meal from fall to winter – cozy, warm, comforting, and cheesy. What more do we need?!
Speaking of cheese – I went pretty light on the cheese for this recipe. If you’d like to add more, feel free to double the amount that is called for in the recipe. Although I love cheese, I tend to be pretty light-handed with it at our house because of some dairy sensitivities. Adjust cheese levels at your discretion 🙂
1 package manicotti
1 lb chorizo sausage
4 c butternut squash chunks
1 yellow onion
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c reduced-sodium chicken stock
3/4 c whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
12 oz mascarpone cheese (1 1/2 containers), room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c fresh grated parmesan cheese
3/4 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 T fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Steam the butternut squash in a colander set over a large pot of boiling water for about 10-15 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.
Drain the large pot of boiling water and refill with more water and salt it generously. Heat on high heat until boiling, and then add the manicotti noodles. Cook until soft, but still quite a bit of bite left – about 2-3 minutes underdone. From the water, take each manicotti and lay flat on a silpat or sheet of tin foil. Let cool.
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, place the chorizo sausage and onions and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are soft and translucent.
Place the steamed butternut squash chunks into a blender or food processor and add to that the chicken stock and salt. You may have to do this in 2 or 3 batches, depending on how big your blender or food processor is. Blend until smooth and pureed.
Pour the butternut squash puree in with the chorizo and onions and stir until well combined.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, mascarpone, egg, mozzarella, 1/4 c parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and sage leaves.
Preheat oven to 400.
Now, for assembly. I find that the easiest way to stuff manicotti is by cutting a slit down the center of the manicotti, spreading filling along the inside, and then rolling it up and placing it in the dish, slit-side down. That might be the cheater way, but it’s the one I think is most efficient. If you want, you could try using a spoon or piping bag, though I personally don’t like either of those methods.
First, place half of the butternut squash and chorizo sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Then, fill each manicotti with about 3ish T of the ricotta mascarpone filling, and arrange side by side in the pan. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese, adding more if desired.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!!