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Some days you just crave cheese, sausage, and noodles. I try really hard not to be an emotional eater but with these cold, miserably dark winter days it is hard to resist. I can’t wait for spring!

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Rustic Manicotti (a variation of this Food52 recipe)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound lean beef beef
  • 1/2 pound spicy italian pork sausage
  • 14 manicotti shells
  • 1 (15 ounce) whole milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Good tomato sauce like Grammy’s Spicy Spaghetti

In a heavy skillet, brown together the ground beef and sausage. When some of their grease has been released, add the onion and saute until meat and onions are cooked through.

Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are mostly softened but are still firm enough to stuff without tearing to bits.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the parsley, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Combine well.

Spoon out enough of your tomato sauce to cover the bottom of a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Stuff each manicotti shell with the cheese and meat mixture. Cover the shells with the rest of your tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

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