Thrusting from a vacation back into the continual chill known as November in my part of the world, rejolted my need for hibernation.
Part of this ritual naturally consists of no longer wanting to venture outside for long walks along the beach or having bird like meals made up of crunchy vegetables. Rib sticking, hearty, soft and warm is what I crave, and so what if all I want to do is have a nap afterward?
With my onslaught of deliciously sweet pumpkins awaiting my arrival, I’ve made my share of sweet treats. If anything, I’ve noticed from my humble, hearty gourds is that, as wonderful as pumpkin is with sugar and nutmeg, they go fantastically well with the acidic punch of a tomato. So in meeting my hibernation qualifications, I concocted this little twist on a traditional cheese stuffed manicotti.
So, after a bit of an absence, I’m about to check in with Ruth and my other Presto Pasta lover’s to see about the transition from salads to soups and sauces. I’m positive the round-up of dishes will be rib stickingly delicious, as usual.
1 250g Box Manicotti, 14 pasta tubes
1 Package Firm Tofu
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Thyme Leaves
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper, or to taste
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes, optional
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, packed
2 Cups Marina Di Chioggia Pumpkin, or any good quality pumpkin, roasted
2 Cups Basic Tomato Sauce
Remove the seeds and roast the pumpkin at 350ºF, face down in a small amount of water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Roast the pumpkin for about 90 minutes or until tender.
Remove the pumpkin flesh from the skin and allow to sit in a colander to remove any excess moisture, until ready to use.
Set a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes.
Drain then rinse the pasta and set aside for stuffing.
In large bowl, crumble the tofu into very small pieces.
Add the oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and nutritional yeast flakes, if using and mix well.
Rinse and dry the basil. Lay the leaves on top of one another and roll tightly to chop into thin chiffonade strips.
Combine the basil and pumpkin to the tofu mixture and using a spoon, stuff the waiting manicotti tubes.
Evenly spread about 1/2 of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and lay the finished, stuffed manicotti in a single layer.
Spread the remaining sauce over the top of the finished manicotti, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350ºF.
Remove the foil and bake, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with additional thyme, nutritional yeast flakes or parmesan cheese to serve.