Butternut Squash Manicotti

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb butternut squash
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground sage
  • ½ tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 package Manicotti shells (about 14 shells)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, to grease the baking dish
  • 1 cup freshly grated Fontina
  • 1 cup freshly grated Mozzarella

White Sauce

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ¾ cups milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the hard shell from the butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon and chop into ½ inch pieces. In a bowl, toss the squash with olive oil, sage, thyme, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer squash to a glass baking dish and bake covered with foil for 40 to 45 minutes or until tender, stirring at least once or twice.

Remove squash from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Puree the squash in a food processor with the nutmeg. Add the ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Stir in 2/3 cup of chopped walnuts. Set aside.

Prepare noodles according to package instructions and drain, but do not rinse the noodles. Separate the noodles on a baking sheet to cool.

Grease a large glass baking dish with butter. Using a spoon, carefully fill the Manicotti with the squash mixture and set in the baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt butter for the sauce. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the flour and whisk it for 2 minutes. Add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Do not let the sauce burn.

Spoon the white sauce over the Manicotti. Sprinkle with the Fontina and Mozzarella cheeses and remaining walnuts. Bake covered with foil in the oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Allow Manicotti to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.