Saturday, January 31, 2009

Swiss Chard and Sweet Pea Manicotti (Winter)

Cook Time: 35 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 12 servings


* 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: a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip
(recommended: Ateco #7)


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

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.


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