Growing up with an Italian mom, from New York who worked a lot, you can say pasta was on the menu more than a couple times a week. We ate it so much that I stay away from the pasta as much as possible now. This definitely helps when we are hiking the hills, to skip those extra carbs 4 days a week. Of course there is always an exception to this rule, for me it comes in the delicious form of stuffed manicotti. It’s similar to lasagna, but what manicotti actually translates to is little muffs. They are large pasta tubes that you stuff with meats and/or cheeses and bake until the mozzarella is bubbling. It looks so good coming out of the oven that you can’t help but burn your mouth on that lava hot goodness!
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Venison Stuffed Manicotti
8 oz. Ground venison
8 oz. Ricotta cheese (whole milk)
4 cups mozzarella
½ cup parmesan
3 cups chopped spinach
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
2 tsp. fresh chopped garlic
2 large eggs
16 oz. marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Boil water in a large pot, cook manicotti for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Strain the pasta into a colander. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking
- Salt and pepper ground venison and brown in a cast iron pan
- Combine your venison, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and your egg. Add your chopped spinach. Save half the mozzarella for topping
- Once all ingredients are mixed, fill your manicotti tubes with the mixture, using a piping bag. Another option is to use a zip lock bag and cut a corner
- Add a light layer of marinara to the bottom of your baking dish. Line the baking dish with the filled pasta. Cover all the pasta with more marinara and the rest of the mozzarella
- Bake for 25-30 mins. Mozzarella should be bubbling and even have a golden brown color.
- Plate with a fresh salad and a nice red wine. Buon appetito!