Manicotti Stuffed with Smoked Salmon and Cheese

This can be served as a main meal with a side salad or soup, or it can accompany a main dish. The smoked salmon gives it a sophisticated flair that makes it a good company dish as well as a nutritious family dinner. You can substitute jumbo pasta shells (8 ounces will yield about 24 shells) for the manicotti, or stuff approximately 12 cannelloni shells. Photo by Mark Shapiro.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 13-by 9-inch baking dish with cooking oil.

2. Cook the manicotti in boiling water according to package instructions, or until firm to the bite, approximately 10 minutes. Drain, cover and set aside.

3. Combine the ricotta, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses in a medium mixing bowl. Add the smoked salmon, chives, 3 Tbsp milk, egg, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Slit the manicotti along one side and open like a book. Divide the cheese mixture among the manicotti. Close the manicotti around the stuffing.

4. Combine the tomato sauce, basil and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Pour half the mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place the stuffed manicotti in the baking dish and pour the remaining sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

5. Cover and bake for 15 minutes, or until hot through. Garnish with the chopped fresh basil before serving.

INGREDIENTS
10 manicotti
1 1/4 cups smooth light ricotta
1/2 cup shredded light cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz smoked salmon, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped chives or green onion
3 Tbsp 2 percent milk
1 egg
A pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato-based pasta sauce
1/2 cup 2 percent evaporated milk
1 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp grated mozzarella cheese

NOTES
Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 295
Protein 18 g
Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Carbohydrates 32 g
Cholesterol 32 mg
Sodium 442 mg
Fiber 2g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Make Ahead: Stuff the shells and make the sauce up to a day in advance and refrigerate. Bake just before serving, adding an extra 10 minutes to the baking time.

Serves 6

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