November means Autumn, Thanksgiving and a special time to celebrate friends having a birthday . I know quite a few friends that have a November birthday and I wish you all the best! The usual greeting on order is a cake but this year I decided to mix it up. That is right, I am celebrating your days with pasta! And not just any pasta either. I recently made some seitan sausages and thought how wonderful they would taste stuffed into a shell with my artisan mozzarella and then bathed in a handmade tomato sauce. Thus this dish was created.
Let's start with my basic recipe and then I will discuss how I pumped it up!
Apple and Aubergine Seitan Sausage & Mozzarella Manicotti
1 (12 ounce) package manicotti, uncooked
1 (22 1/2 ounce) container Tofu ricotta cheese (buy Tofutti or make your own...recipe is in my book)
3 cups cashew mozzarella cheese (about 10 balls)
2 links seitan sausage, diced
1/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup grated Rice parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups spaghetti sauce
Mix tofu ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cup of the mozzarella , 1/4 cup of the parmesan , parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Spoon mixture into uncooked manicotti shells, using at least 1/3 cup per shell. Place filled manicotti shells in a single layer in greased 13X9 inch baking pan.
Pour spaghetti sauce over manicotti shells.
Sprinkle with chopped chives and 1/4 cup Rice parmesan cheese, bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until hot.
Feeds 6-8 birthday gals!
For the seitan sausage, I chop and salt 1 cup of eggplant and add 1 grated apple. Mix 1 cup chopped seitan with the eggplant and season with pepper, fennel, basil and oregano. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 clove minced garlic, a dash of paprika, a sprinkle of rice flour and mold into links, wrapping in foil. Refrigerate an hour and then bake or fry in olive oil. I like to cook then and then add to the manicotti.
My sauce is a fresh tomato and basil sauce:
8 -10 tomatoes, chopped well
8 basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic and 1/4 cup minced shallot
I saute the shallot and garlic in a little olive oil and then add the rest of the ingredients - simmer an hour or two to develop flavor!
Hope that you all enjoy this meal - serve it with a glass of vino and Celebrate!