Monday, November 14, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sage Manicotti with Roasted Red Pepper Bechamel

I have been been having a tough time getting back into the kitchen since our big move last year. All the stress I guess? But I certainly can feel it all coming back! :)
I made this dish yesterday for a dinner party. I was so excited to have my 'mojo' back in the kitchen I started doing a happy dance and sliding back and forth along the floors 'Risky Business' style. ha! No joke!

My plan was to make a Roasted Butternut and Red Pepper Manicotti with Bechamel sauce (still a delicious idea), but along the way I thought why not added the red pepper to the bechamel!? Don't you just love it when that happens? You have a clear plan in mind and half way through there's a new spin to the dish you're creating. This is one of my favourite thing about cooking; there are no rules and many suprises!

What I love most about making this dish is that I use crepes instead of pasta. So much easier to fill than pasta tubes, and it simply just makes a nice change from pasta

The dinner turned out without a hitch, to say the least ;)
Our friends also brought a lovely, fresh mediterrarian style layered dip for the starter and 'melt your heart' apple cinnamon dumplings with vanilla ice cream for dessert (sorry I didn't get photos of these)

(Serves 6 people)

Before making the filling you can start preparing the Crepes:
3 eggs
1.5 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
Pinch or two of salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until it comes to a smooth batter. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour (while in the fridge this would be a good time to prepare the filling. See below)
  •  Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium temperature. Brush with a bit of butter. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, tilting to coat the base of the pan. Cook 2-5 minutes, flipping over once until both side are slightly golden. 
  • Repeat process. Stack them onto a plate and set aside. This should make about 10 crepes
The Roasted Red Pepper Bechamel sauce:

1 portion of Classic Bechamel Sauce
3-4 red peppers, roasted
4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • I roast my peppers by charring them over the flame on my gas stove, until softened, then peeling them. Or, if you don't have agas stove, you can place them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees F
  • Garlic cloves should be kept in their shell, placed on a pan and roasted in the oven for approximately 45 minutes (I put them in the oven when I was roasting the butternut (see below) . Cut an end off and you should be able to squeeze out the garlic
  • Blend the roasted peppers and garlic in a food processor then combine with the bechamel sauce

What you will need for the Manicotti filling:
3 tbsp olive oil
1lb butternut squash
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 large handfuls baby spinach
250g ricotta cheese
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp dried sage leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Set the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Peel, de-seed and cut the butternut into chunks. Place on a baking tray mixed with the onion. Crush the sage leaves over top, sprinkle the sugar and pour over the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.Toss all together
  • Place the butternut and onion mix into the oven and roast for approximaely 45min, or until the butternut and onion are softened and starting to charcoal a bit. Remove from oven, place in a large bowl with the spinach. Toss until spinach starts to wilt. Set aside to let cool 
  • Once cooled mix in the ricotta cheese. Taste, and add more seasoning if necessary
 Prepare the dish:
  • You may need 2 baking dishes for this. Grease baking dish (es). Oven should be set to 350 degrees F
  • Place about 1/2 cup of filling into the middle of the crepe. Fold each end of the crepe to the middle, and place the manicotti fold side down into the backing dish. Repeat until all manicotti are done, lined up side by side, with a little room between each one
  • Pour the sauce over top. Cover with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes
 Serve some caesar salad on the side
Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can vouch: This is awesome for breakfast too :)