Ham and Mushroom Stuffed Manicotti

And that little piggy cried "DANG that was good!"

Ok, so he probably didn't. But this dish...really good.

Ham & Mushroom Stuffed Manicotti (adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 package cremini mushrooms, chopped
couple pats of butter
couple turns of the pan of olive oil
2 cups ham-chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbl butter
3 Tbl olive oil
6 Tbl flour
3 Cups milk-room temp
1 1/2 cups swiss cheese-shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese-shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 box (14 tubes) manicotti-cooked as directed on the box

Got your tubes cooked and set aside? Good...preheat the oven to 350, would ya?

Working on the filling first-add your butter and oil to the pan, get them warm then add your veggies. Once those are softened up, add your chopped ham. I used my leftover ham from my roast (fyi..the recipe is a couple weeks old)-so mine was kinda sweet (still was awesome)-I'd think that those thick slices of breakfast ham chunked up would be good for this. Set it off the burner to cool, and after about 20 minutes add the parmesan to it.

Now the sauce-in your saucepan get the butter and oil together and liquidy..then add your flour-I add a spoonful at a time and whisk as I'm doing it. You don't want lumps. Now cook this (which is a roux btw) for a few minutes over low-medium heat..whisking, whisking, all the way. You'll need to be a bit ambidextrous with this next step. Up the heat to medium and with one hand add the milk, with the other keep whisking. Keep whisking until you feel the sauce come together. And you will.You'll be standing there whisking, thinking 'this is NOT working' and all of a sudden..you'll have Bechamel sauce! Turn the heat back to low, ditch the whisk and get a nice sized spoon, dump your swiss and mozz in and slowly fold/stir/generally incorporate. Take a good spoonful (about  1/4 cup) and add it to the meat/veggie mix (combine).Turn it off, set it aside.

So now we have our cast of characters. I chose to make TWO 9x9 cooking dishes full of this and one is still hanging out in the freezer. You can easily do this in a bigger pan (9x13) and have a larger serving.
Add a smear of the white sauce to the bottom of the cooking dish
Stuff the tubes with the meat/veggie mix. Easier said than done. Honestly? I split mine open, filled them, then put them seam side down. *sigh* Glad I got that off my chest.

Once you have them filled and all cozy laying next to one another in the dish, pour on the sauce. Top with the rest of the grated parm and tuck it away in that nice warm oven for about 30 excruciatingly long minutes.

It should get bubbly, and a little golden around the edges. You'll need to let it cool down for about 15 minutes (again torture) to avoid instant mouth scald.

But it's worth the wait. It is SO worth the wait.  The creamy swiss cheese sauce, the salty ham, the meaty mushrooms, and the lovely back up flavors of the pepper and onion.

Quite easily in my top 20 meals I've made-EVER. And freezes great!


You had me at bechamel sauce! YUM! love it!