Stuffed Manicotti with Peppery Cheese Sauce
Manicotti pasta shells are stuffed with a savory mixture of ground beef, peas, walnuts and pimiento, and baked in a spicy cheddar cheese sauce.
12 packaged dry manicotti shells
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base or instant bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded process Swiss cheese
Salt to taste
12 ounces lean ground beef or pork
1 cup loose-pack frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons diced pimiento
Sliced green onion (optional)
Diced pimiento (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water and drain again.
- For sauce, in a medium saucepan cook the chopped onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender. Stir in flour, base or granules, paprika, red pepper and black pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt.
- In a large skillet cook ground meat until brown. Drain fat. Stir in peas, walnuts, 2 tablespoon pimiento, and 1 cup of the sauce. Fill each manicotti shell with about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture.
- Arrange filled manicotti in 6 individual au gratin dishes or in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the filled manicotti. Cover with foil.
- Bake in a 350°F (175°C) oven about 20 minutes for individual dishes (about 35 minutes for the large baking dish) or until heated through. If desired, sprinkle with green onion and additional diced pimiento before serving.
Makes 6 servings.