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Toscano Mushroom Manicotti with Spinach Bechamel Bake


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  • 8 manicotti tubes
  • 1/4 lb Monforte Toscano or Italian
  • Percorino Toscan, 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 Tbsp shaved almonds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 can (796 g) diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 bag (255 g) pre-washed spinach
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T butter
  • ¼ cup diced shallots
  • 1 lb. Button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


Servings 4


Step 1

Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute another minute. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes or until reduced to a thickened sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Grease a 9 x 13 dish and spread tomato sauce over bottom with a spoon. Set aside. For spinach béchamel, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the spinach. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until wilted and soft. Cool and squeeze out excess liquid. Roughly chop and set aside. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling. Add bay leaf and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add warm milk, whisking constantly until all lumps are gone. Simmer until thickened and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg, then spinach until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside. Make mushroom filling by melting butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add mushroom and cook for about 10 minutes or until there is no more liquid draining from the mixture and it is moist and thickened. Add lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook manicotti as directed on package. Drain. Preheat oven to 350. To assemble, use a small coffee spoon and stuff each manicotti about ¾ full (about 3 T) with the mushroom filling. Place in the casserole dish on top of the tomato sauce, all in a row. Blanket the manicotti with spinach béchamel. Sprinkle with grated Toscano cheese. Top with shaved almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are bubbling; remove from oven. Adjust to top rack and raise oven temperature to 500. Put casserole back in oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese and almonds turn golden.

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