Winter Squash, Sage & Fresh Ricotta Manicotti

Have you heard?  I have a bagillion Butternut squash in my garden.  It’ headline news.  Ok, maybe not, but WOW…thanks Mother Nature (or maybe my green thumb) for the abundance of squash this year!  My kids, well, they aren’t thanking you so much.  Even though my daughter proclaimed that my Roasted Butternut Squash Brie Mac & Cheese was “The best mac and cheese I’ve ever eaten”, until she found out it had squash in it.  Then it was game over.  I even tried to pass off the butternuts in biscuit form with my Butternut Squash & Sage Biscuits but the teenager scoffed at those too.  I think she has some fear of “orange things”.  So far I think her favorite squash laden meal was the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Sausage and Fried Sage but it’s also been almost a year since I sprang that one on her.  So who knows.  You know how teenagers are.

Anyway, I thought maybe she’d be open to it if I masked it by pureeing it and mixed it with Homemade Ricotta Cheese to make Manicotti.  Maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t notice it.  But, she has a younger brother, who has a giant mouth, who saw the butternut squash skins in the trash, who blurted it out to her immediately in an attempt to gross her out, who is not getting presents from Santa this year for this unfortunate act, who walked around with a giant smile on his face from being proud of his “accomplishment”.  Yes, he’s that brother.  And….of course, she didn’t like it.  She’s a head-case.  Moving on…

So the real deal here is this.  This manicotti is decadent.  It’s elegant.  It’s easy to prepare.  It’s so unbelievably delicious.  It’s ….well, you just need to make it.

I love making crepes for my manicotti.  It adds to the decadence of it all.  But you could use store bought manicotti noodles too and achieve fantastic results as well.

The crepes don’t take long to make (less than a minute per crepe) and can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed container for a day or so.

Fill the crepes with about 1/2 cup of squash ricotta and roll em up!

Adding some sauce to the bottom of the baking dish aids in easy extraction later.  Cover with more sauce, parmesan cheese and foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve with a big salad and some crusty bread and life will be complete.  Just don’t invite my teenager…unless you want to listen to her belly-ache about eating another butternut squash meal.  Kids these days.

Winter Squash, Sage & Fresh Ricotta Manicotti
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Ingredients


For Filling
1 3 lb butternut squash, or other winter squash, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 recipe of Homemade Ricotta Cheese, or large container of store bought (2 cups)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

For crêpes
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (or cooking spray)

For sauce
1 jar of your favorite Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the quartered butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Wrap tightly with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Scoop out the pulp and add to the bowl of a food processor.  Puree the squash until it is uniformly smooth.  Measure out 2 cups worth of puree for the manicotti and reserve any remaining for another use. (See links below for ideas).

2 In a medium bowl add the 2 cups of squash puree, 2 cups of fresh ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and chopped sage.  Mix to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Set aside.

3 Crepes: In a medium bowl, add the 3 eggs and break them up with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the water until combined (don’t beat).  Sift in the flour and salt and stir until just combined.  Lumps are ok!  Force the mixture through a medium-meshed sieve into another bowl.  Brush an 8 inch nonstick skillet with butter and set over a medium-high heat.  Ladle 1/4 cup (I use the measuring cup) of batter into the skillet.  Tilt and rotate the skillet to evenly disburse the batter.  Cook for about 30 seconds then using a cake spatula, flip the crepe over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Invert onto a clean plate and repeat with the remaining batter to make 12 crepes in total and stacking them on top of each other.

4 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Warm the marinara sauce slightly.  Add about 1/2 cup to the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.  On a clean cutting board lay out a crepe and fill with 1/2 cup of squash mixture. Roll up leaving the ends open and place in the baking dish.  Repeat with remaining 11 crepes.  Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the top of the manicotti.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and cover tightly with foil.  Bake until bubbling and hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 6 Servings


Cook’s Note:

  • Manicotti can be made 1 day in advance and chilled, covered.  Bring to room temperature before baking.  
  • Crepes can be made a day in advance also if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before assembly to prevent cracking.
Other Squash recipes you might like:
Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Pizza – Bev Cooks – Swoooooooooooon!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Shallot Soup – Once Upon a Cutting Board – Holy Yum!
Butternut Squash, Balsamic Onions & Ricotta Galette – Naturally Ella – Gorgeous!!  A must make on my list

21 Comments

  • Reply
    amainezing
    September 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Just found your blog and made this recipe. It was amazing. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Priscilla - She's Cookin'
    October 31, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Lovely and impressive, Heather! Love the crepes – what an elegant fall recipe. We didn’t plant any fall squash – have to talk to hubs about that!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray
    October 31, 2011 at 7:24 am

    May I come live with you? These look amazing, and you wouldn’t hear a single complaint from me!

  • Reply
    A SPICY PERSPECTIVE
    October 31, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I just KNOW you love me and were thinking about me when you came up with this recipe. Muah! 😉

  • Reply
    foodwanderings
    October 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Wow so impressed Heather. Homemade fresh ricotta cheese and crepes for the Manicotti?! Just brilliant! Love this dish it’s gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 30, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Crepes for manicotti? Great idea!
    I know how you feel about your teenager. My son is only 4 and the I DON’T LIKE THAT with foods he has either loved before or never tried has gotten past its prime.

  • Reply
    Sippity Sup
    October 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Squash from the garden! Oh to have the space for that luxury. Oh well, city life. GREG

  • Reply
    Eliotseats
    October 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    This looks fantastic! I don’t think my sage has frozen out yet. I will have to go look and make this dish!

  • Reply
    Cake Duchess
    October 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    lol!My daughter is like that too with lentils.If they’re disguised just right, she won’t even notice;)You’re so blessed with all of your squash. Your manicotti look fantastic:)xx

  • Reply
    Deb
    October 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I have been on a butternut squash cooking spree: roasted, bread, risotto, soup, mac ‘n cheese. Now I want to try your manicotti, it is exceptional!

  • Reply
    Barbara | Creative Culinary
    October 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    You have the squash and I have the sage. Won’t you be my neighbor?

  • Reply
    Debbie Strotz
    October 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    you crack me up girl! This looks delish – gonna make it this weekend!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Great blog! Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Julia
    October 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Oh my deliciousness. ZThey’re even made with fresh butternut squash from your garden, I’m jealous, like REAL jealous!!!!

  • Reply
    marla
    October 28, 2011 at 6:19 am

    This recipe screams fall & I lOVE that!!

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 28, 2011 at 5:57 am

    This looks so good!

  • Reply
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    October 28, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Wow, the flavors here are amazing. I have to try this for sure, I adore butternut squash every which way.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    October 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    LOL!! I was cracking up reading this!! As the mother of two teenagers (ok, one is away at college but that still counts, right??) I could definitely relate! The good news is that even though they complain they still, in their heart of hearts, think it’s cool that their Mom cooks like this.
    And in this case, even if they don’t… well, I do.. so there!!
    This is definitely one decadent, delicious dish and the homemade crepes truly put it over the top!!

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    October 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    This looks amazing, I love the idea of using crepes for manicotti, crepes make everything better! I can’t believe anybody would complain about being served this meal! 🙂

  • Reply
    kankana
    October 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Love this idea and crepes are so delicious with any filling. The husband doesn’t like squash but i can always use something else 🙂

  • Reply
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
    October 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    what a wonderful combination!

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