7/26/08

Swiss Chard and Sweet Pea Manicotti

P6300262

I know... it's July. It's LATE July. And here I am posting a creamy, cheesy, baked pasta dish. Well, I actually made this probably over a month ago, but I hadn't gotten around to posting it until now. Also, I don't necessarily think that there are certain times that you should eat ANY food. It's more what you're in the mood for at the time. PLUS, this manicotti is loaded with veggies! What's more summery than that? haha... Well, whether you make this now, or bookmark this page so you can make it in the fall, please make this dish. It's GOOD GOOD GOOD! The swiss chard, peas, and onions really give the filling a depth of flavor and set it way apart from the ho-hum ricotta only version.

This was also the very best picture I could get of this pasta. It's hard making a baked pasta look pretty, but I did my best. :-)

So how do you make it? Well, let me tell you...

Start with some beautiful swiss chard. This is actually the first time I've ever worked with this green. I'm sure I've eaten it before, but I've never bought it, taken it home, and cooked it for myself. I loved how HUGE the leaves were. They were a very dark and vibrant green; very pretty.

P6300245

Using kitchen scissors or a knife, remove the leaves from the stems of the chard. Discard the stems. Chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

P6300247

Add the chard and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes.

P6300248

See how much the swiss chard wilts?

P6300249

Place the ricotta cheese, peas, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cooled chard mixture and blend until smooth.

P6300250

Yum! I had to stop myself from eating this whole bowl with just a spoon!

P6300251

Spoon the mixture into a prepared pastry bag, (or just do what I did and take a Ziplock plastic bag, fill it with the mixture, zip the bag closed, hold it like a pastry bag and snip off one of the corners, allowing you to squirt the filling out), and fill each manicotti shell with the filling. Place the stuffed manicotti in the prepared baking dish.

P6300252

Next, make the Fontina Fonduta sauce. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk and cream to a simmer, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the fontina cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil.

P6300253

Pour the sauce over the stuffed manicotti. I know... it looks like a lot. Trust me, the pasta soaks it all up.

P6300256

Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

P6300257

One of the most beautiful things in life is... when cheese does THIS.

P6300258

Let the pasta sit for about 10 minutes before you serve it so the sauce, cheese, filling, etc., doesn't run all over the place when you try and put it on the plate. Like I said, this was really good and I highly suggest making it when you're in the mood for some comfort food. And, of course, it was even better the next day.



Swiss Chard and Sweet Pea Manicotti
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
Show: Everyday Italian
Episode: Pasta for Every Season


P6300262

Butter, for greasing the pan
12 manicotti or cannelloni pasta shells

Filling
1 head (about 12 ounces) red or white Swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Fontina Fonduta Sauce
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups (6 ounces) fontina cheese, grated
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) mozzarella, shredded

Special Equipment (optional): a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (recommended: Ateco #7) <-- you can just use a ziplock bag, fill it, and snip one of the corners off; whalla! Your own pastry bag!


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish liberally with butter.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.


For the Filling:

Using kitchen scissors or a knife, remove the leaves from the stems of the chard. Discard the stems. Chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chard and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Place the ricotta cheese, peas, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cooled chard mixture and blend until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry bag and fill each manicotti shell with the filling. Place the stuffed manicotti in the prepared baking dish.

For the Fontina Fonduta Sauce:

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk and cream to a simmer, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the fontina cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil.

Pour the sauce over the stuffed manicotti and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

7 comments:

  1. Mmmmmmm!! It's ALWAYS a day for manicotti. Awesome recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  2. it doesn't matter what time of the year it is, if i see cheese that bubbly and crusted brown, i'm digging in!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm almost weeping, that looks and sounds so good. If only my wife hadn't decided she's vegan now . . .

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been wanting to use swiss chard more and this sounds like a really tasty way to.

    ReplyDelete
  5. tara, i am so far behind. but i am catching up on your blog and well, this looks absolutely beautiful. a huge wow. as usual...

    ReplyDelete
  6. just made it tonight!!!! It was great...going to make it for a supper club and trying to come up with somthing to serve with it...salad, veg ect...any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm totally ready to make this again... as soon as the weather gets just a little colder it's ON.

    Hey gina, glad it turned out good for you! If you haven't cooked for your supper club yet (which buy the way sounds like a fun idea, why do I not belong to something like this?), then why not serve it with a great salad? There's already a lot going on starch-wise with the manicotti, so I think a salad would be perfect. What about a salad with some cannellini beans tossed in it? Here are a couple ideas:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/cannellini-bean-red-onion-and-arugula-salad-recipe/index.html

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/beans-and-greens-salad-recipe/index.html

    I made the second one, the Rachael Ray one, and it ended up being good. The dressing is a bit much on its own, but once it's tossed with the greens and the beans, it's quite refreshing and yummy! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete

If you are commenting to enter a giveaway, please do not comment as "Anonymous". If you choose to comment as "Name/URL", please use your Twitter handle as your Name or provide a URL that provides us a way to contact you in the even that you are the winner. Thank you! ~ FOODIE