I got the idea to make this kind o Manicotti after I dined at Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante in Glendale AZ. I had a similar dish there and I knew I could make the same dish…It just so happens I recently made a batch of Cannoli and had a lot of home made fresh ricotta cheese and I happened to also have a bunch of squash…..So this is what I had to make. I don’t recommend for everyone to do this recipe for two reasons. One you might not be willing to make your own ricotta cheese and you might not care to shred your own cheese. Your own fresh ricotta cheese and grated cheeses will taste much better than ricotta and already shredded cheese you purchase from a regular grocery store so the manicotti won’t come out as good tasting without fresh made ricotta cheese. (they might also come out more runny I’m thinking and then you’ll get mad at me)……You also have to already have drained ricotta cheese so that may or may not be some extra work for you. ……..BUT……….The MAIN REASON I don’t recommend this recipe to most people is that you need to be pretty good using a mandolin to cut the long ribbons of squash. I don’t want you to go to the hospital to make Squash Manicotti… I’m thinking it might be easier to make a one layer lasagna with the squash for most people….so do that if you prefer. I also need to let you know that I wasn’t able to slice the very end of each squash either so i need to use the ends for soup or a side vegetable. This recipe make around 21 manicotti so it will be around 10 servings. Extra servings can be frozen but they are better fresh. Also after they are frozen they might need another drain.
Ingredients for about 10 servings
6 small- small /medium squash – (zucchini or yellow or a mix of both) (don’t use the very large squash here….it will be more watery from the bigger seed cavity and not come out as well. I note it is possible due to size on squash, thickness and your ability to slice squash…the amount of squash you use may differ.
4 cups of ricotta – preferably home made and drained for three days (recipe is on site for many recipes) (1/2 gallon milk, pint heavy cream, teaspoon sea salt, one lemon…that’s about how much you need for the recipe but I always make a double batch of cheese and freeze what I don’t use)
1 cup of Italian Blend Cheese – plus extra for the amount of manicotti you are serving for topping them. – Use preferably cheese shredded by hand of a combination of mozzarella, mild and sharp provolone and parmesan (about 1 part mozzarella and the other cheeses are about one quarter)
1 large egg – beaten
1/4 teaspoon dry basil
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
few grates fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground sea salt to taste…..(here you need to use the salt extra sparingly because the cheeses are salty. The salt is just to season the squash)
fresh ground black pepper to taste – black pepper is used just to season the squash
You only need about two tablespoons of sauce for each manicotti you are serving……Use your favorite sauce to top the manicotti…..Here I used Norma Sauce (a rich tomato/eggplant sauce. Recipe is on site)
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Oil baking sheet(s).
In medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, Italian Blend Cheese, egg, basil, white pepper and nutmeg. Mix and put to the side.
Remove the squash ends.
In a large bowl CAREFULLY slice the squash thinly longways on a mandolin. I did two at a time so I could figure how many squash I needed.
Lay out about 4 slices of squash and make them overlay each other like picture below.
Now you need to either spoon out a thick line of cheese or squirt a line with a pastry bag so it looks like picture below.
Wrap the left side of squash over the cheese and keep rolling.
Keep rolling and then place on oiled baking sheet and repeat till you are out of the ricotta mixture.
Sprinkle tops of manicotti with olive oil and sparingly with fresh crushed sea salt and black pepper.
Place in the 350F degree oven for 30 minutes.
You need to drain the water that came out of the squash. (some people salt squash before using in different recipes but since this squash is very delicate and thin it’s too easy to over salt)
To serve top with any pasta sauce that you enjoy and put bake in the oven a few minutes to melt Italian Blend cheese on the top. Extra manicotti can be frozen for latter use but it will be better fresh.
These came out Forking Delicious!