Sunday, September 21, 2014

Baked Manicotti with Sausage and Peas

"Did you eat it? Did you eat the last one?" I asked him this while giving him the death stare.  I knew he did, of course, but I had to ask.  The look in his eye confirmed my worse fears.  I knew in an instant there was no more Baked Manicotti with Sausage and Peas. He had done it.  He had ate the very last one.  

I didn't even try to hide my disappointment for a minute because I wanted that last manicotti with every fiber in my being.  Oh my goodness those manicotti were absolutely amazing. Beautiful pasta tubes stuffed with perfectly seasoned Italian sausage, petite peas, and fluffy ricotta cheese. A little marinara and a creamy dreamy fonduta sauce (a blend of milk, cream and Pecorino Romano) blankets the pasta.  Top all that with lots of ooey gooey mozzarella cheese, and after some time in the oven, you have one delectable, family-pleasing, feel-good casserole worth fighting over.  

Baked Manicotti with Sausage and Peas
Serves 4-6

Fonduta sauce:
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces (about 3 cups) grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves 

For Sausage and Pea Filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
3/4 cup (4 ounces) frozen petite peas, thawed
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta 

To Fill and Bake:
12 manicotti shells
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella 

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-by-2-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

For the fonduta sauce: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Add the Pecorino Romano and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Set aside.

For the filling: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, shallots, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, break the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until the wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Add the peas, ricotta, and 1 cup of the fonduta sauce. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To bake:  Place half of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Using a small spoon, fill the manicotti shells with the sausage filling and arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the filled shells. Spoon the remaining fonduta sauce on top and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until bubbly and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Theme September Potluck!


  1. Manicotti is pure comfort food. Blessings, Catherine

  2. Hi Kim,
    Oh my goodness, I can see how delicious this is! I have never tried cooking with manicotti before, filling it with the delicious filling, already a winner in my books! Looks really, really good, no wonder every last bit was gone!

  3. Looks fantastic! Trust Giada to come up with a recipe like this - delicious and comforting.

  4. There is nothing more comforting than a good cheesy, sausagey, Italian 'cassserole'. I know you will be making this one again. And you can have the last one.

  5. Oh my god KIM!!!!! You have me wanting these now more than ever. I have to find gluten free manicotti shells but if I can't I will make that filling and figure something out. Sounds like a big winner, something I would want on my meal rotation a lot!

  6. Oh man! This is one serious manicotti. Sounds fabulous. I obviously need more fonduta sauce in my life.

  7. This is just what I am in the mood for right now! Baked cheesy goodness!

  8. This seriously looks like absolute heaven!! The fact that someone ate the last one and you are not facing murder charges right now, is testimony to your good nature :-) I would have killed anyone who took the last one!!

  9. First pin of the morning! I absolutely can't wait to fire roast these on the kamado grill, what a perfect recipe for it.


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