I am finally getting back into the kitchen, and comfort food is what I am craving! This recipe was inspired by the plentiful Swiss chard that is already overflowing in my garden. I think the goat cheese gives some great tang to the mild ricotta, and the additions of spicy sausage and caramelized onions really makes this a filling and flavorful dish. I prefer the spicy tomato sauce on the top, because I think it balances all of the cheese, but if you are not into spice, then just add your favorite tomato sauce.
I paired this with a green salad and a baguette, and served it for dinner last night- it was great!
Goat Cheese, Chicken Sausage and Swiss Chard Manicotti with Spicy Tomato Sauce, serves 6-8
2 8oz packages of dried manicotti noodles (28 noodles)
32oz ricotta cheese
11oz goat cheese
12oz spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
8 cups Swiss chard, thinly sliced
2 small sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbs of butter
2 jars good quality spicy tomato sauce, (I like San Marzano brand)
You will need a 9×13 and a 8×8 Pyrex baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the noodles and let them cook according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain the noodles well, and let them sit on a sheet pan covered in a sheet of parchment paper. Make sure that they dry without sticking to the other noodles.
In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese and the ricotta cheese until well combined. Season the cheese with salt and pepper and then refrigerate until firm.
In a pan, melt the 1 Tablespoon of butter over low heat and add the onions. Sweat the onions until very soft and caramelized. Add broth, water or wine if the onions get to dry, as well as a sprinkle of salt. Set the onions aside.
In the same pan, over medium heat, add the chicken sausages and break them up into small pieces. Cook the sausages all the way through, browning them on the outside. Set the sausage aside and leave the drippings in the pan.
Bring the pan and the chicken sausage fat back to medium heat. Add the Swiss chard and a sprinkle of kosher salt, and quickly cook the chard until wilted down, about 3 minutes. Set the chard aside.
Take each of the noodles and gently stuff them with a combination of the cheese, onions, chard and sausage. When you have filled all of the manicotti noodles, arrange them in the two pans. Pour the tomato sauce generously over the top of the manicotti and place it in the oven. Bake the Manicotti for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot and bubbly. I then like to serve it with a freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.