Beef Manicotti with Wild Mushrooms and Three Cheeses

This pasta dish can be served as an appetizer or main course. I like to use oyster or portobello mushrooms, but regular cultivated mushrooms work too.

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a 13-by 9-inch baking dish with cooking oil.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the manicotti shells for 14 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

3. Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the leeks and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring to break up the chunks, for 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Add the stock, tomato paste and dried basil. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Place the ricotta, mozzarella, 2 Tbsp of the Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well mixed. Add to meat mixture and combine well.

5. Combine the tomato sauce and milk in a small bowl. Spread half the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Slit manicotti and open like a book, stuff each manicotti shell with about 3 Tbsp of the filling and enclose. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.

6. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with the fresh basil before serving.

12 manicotti shells
3 cups chopped wild mushrooms (about 1/2 lb)
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 cups washed, chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only
6 oz lean ground beef
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup smooth light ricotta
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup tomato-based pasta sauce
1 1/2 cup tomato-based pasta sauce
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 285
Protein 17 g
Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 4g
Carbohydrates 35 g
Cholesterol 61 mg
Sodium 300 mg
Fiber 3g

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 39 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate. Reheat in a 300ºF oven, covered, for 25 minutes.

Serves 6