Sausage Florentine Manicotti
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In our opinion, this is an Italian dream dish. This no-hassle, melt-in-your-mouth dish will always be a favorite.
What You'll Need
- 4 quarts water
- 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti noodles, uncooked
- 1 (26-ounce) jar tomato-basil flavored pasta sauce
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 cups (16-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
What to Do
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large Dutch oven; add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, combine pasta sauce and spinach in a medium bowl; pour half the mixture into a lightly greased 5-quart slow cooker. Set remaining half of mixture aside.
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and, if desired, walnuts. Spoon into manicotti shells (see Note); arrange stuffed shells in slow cooker. Pour reserved tomato mixture over shells; sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
Cover and cook on LOW setting 2-1/2 hours. Let stand 10 minutes.
Try this no-hassle trick when stuffing manicotti shells: slice the shell lengthwise, spoon the mixture evenly down the center of the shell, reshape, and then place cut side down in the slow cooker.