Pumpkin & Spinach Manicotti with Bechamel- Sage Sauce

I recently attended the BlogHer food conference in San Francisco, where I had the opportunity to meet loads of other bloggers that I’ve known forever via Twitter & blog visiting, etc. It was truly exciting to meet face-to-face so many fabulous and talented food writers, bloggers and cookbook authors all in one place (far too many to mention them all here)!  The workshops were valuable… tips on photo styling and photography from Matt, Heidi, Todd and Diane… and insight from pro bloggers Ree Drummond, Elise Bauer, and David Lebovitz. And an excellent party organized by rockstar bloggers Ree, Elise and Jaden turned out to be a perfect way to end the day- goodies from Foodzie, cocktails from Starbucks, dancing & a super cool swag bag from CHEF’S Catalogue.

One of the highlights of the weekend was attending a dinner in Napa Valley at St. Supery winery. The dinner was sponsored by Bertolli, and we got to hang out with their cutie-pie spokesperson- Chef Rocco DiSpirito,  who was charming and friendly, all night. The folks from Bertolli were gracious and fun, and they spoiled us with a fun-filled evening. I loved meeting bloggers Jennifer (In Jennie’s Kitchen), Gina (Bowl Licker), Kelsey (The Naptime Chef), Katrina (Baking & Boys), Sara (Supper Starter), Katy (Simply Yummy Goodness), Genie (The Inadvertent Gardener), and many more! Great company, great fun, and lots of wine 🙂 A bottle of St. Supery wine was sent home with us, and I managed to tuck it into my suitcase and get it safely back to San Diego. My husband and I popped it open the other night, and we were delightfully surprised with how much we enjoyed it.
Knowing we’d be popping open this bottle of wine for dinner, I put together a fall pasta recipe for the occasion: Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce.
I wanted to use pumpkin (real sugar (pie) pumpkin) in my pasta dish- I roasted it up with a little bit of olive oil and maple syrup. Then I mixed it with some ‘typical’ manicotti filling ingredients… cream cheese, ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, etc. and added some chopped fresh sage in there too. A creamy, white bechamel sauce seemed like the perfect choice to accompany the flavors of pumpkin and sage.
I discovered a little secret for stuffing manicotti noodles:  I scooped the stuffing into quart-sized zip bags, snipped the end and squeezed the filling  into the noodles. It worked really well, and I didn’t have to struggle with the mess of trying to spoon it in.
I scooped the remaining bechamel sauce on top and threw on a little chopped fresh sage to finish it off.  It was covered and baked for an hour.  When it emerged from the oven, it was hot and bubbly, flavors having had a chance to meld together.
This manicotti turned out to be a really excellent fall dinner. The roasted pumpkin was perfectly textured and wonderful with the melty mozzarella cheese & sage as well as the nutmeg-tainted sauce.
I’m no wine expert, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to pair a white with a bechamel sauce. Didn’t matter for us… the bottle of St. Supery was long gone by the time we ate dinner 😉 Loved the manicotti (the kiddo even ate this one) & loved the wine too (we didn’t let the kiddo have any of that).

This recipe can be found here:  Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce

*NOTE: I’m quite sure you can sub butternut squash for the pumpkin if you’d like (with similar results).

31 Responses to “Pumpkin & Spinach Manicotti with Bechamel- Sage Sauce”

  1. postedOct 8, 2009 3:50 AM
    Renee - kudoskookies

    This is a keeper recipe. Print 🙂
    Thanks so much!!!

  2. postedOct 8, 2009 3:38 AM

    Oh, my! That manicotti looks incredible… even at 7:30 in the morning!

  3. postedOct 8, 2009 4:21 AM

    Wow that manicotti looks heavenly! as far as the mine goes I say drink whatever you enjoy!!!

  4. postedOct 8, 2009 4:21 AM

    It was a pleasure to meet you at BlogHer. Ut was just a surprise-filled day.Your pumpkin manicotti sounds is bringing fall right to my computer screen.

  5. postedOct 8, 2009 5:06 AM

    What a fantastic looking dish. Now I’m got a dilemma – to make squash manicotti or squash lasagna. I guess either way I win.

  6. postedOct 8, 2009 5:13 AM

    Yep..that is what I use to fill mine. Works perfectly!!! I use zip lock bags for everything!!!

  7. postedOct 8, 2009 5:32 AM

    It’s only 9:30 in the morning and you’re making me hungry! This looks wonderful.

  8. postedOct 8, 2009 5:50 AM

    What a great fall comfort dish. And your nails always look so good:) Great creation here!

  9. postedOct 8, 2009 6:19 AM

    In my opinion it is very difficult to take a good picture of a lasagna type dish…..not here though. You did well and this looks absolutely delicious!!!Love the flavors!!!

  10. postedOct 8, 2009 6:23 AM

    Yay, you posted it! Looks every bit as good as I’d expected. Will be making something along these lines for dinner very soon.

  11. postedOct 8, 2009 10:25 AM

    I am so happy you posted your recipe! As soon as you mentioned it on Twitter I knew I wanted to try it. It looks beautiful and on the menu for next week!

  12. postedOct 8, 2009 10:26 AM

    This looks fabulous! It was great to meet you, too. Glad to see you are in the fall spirit with the pumpkin manicotti!

  13. postedOct 8, 2009 10:36 AM

    That looks amazing — yum! But wait…you didn’t just yank something out of the freezer and heat it up? YOU COOKED FROM SCRATCH? 😉

  14. postedOct 8, 2009 6:02 PM

    Your manicotti looks incredible… I love the pumpkin and spinach combination!

  15. postedOct 8, 2009 10:38 PM

    Pumpkin, sage and bechamel sauce all in one dish?! It’s like I died and went to heaven. I can’t wait to try this.

  16. postedOct 9, 2009 3:57 AM

    Stuffed goodness! 🙂

  17. postedOct 9, 2009 10:03 AM

    Absolutely gorgeous.

  18. postedOct 9, 2009 11:46 AM

    What a star-studded foodie fest! Plus, a delicious dish. Yum.

  19. postedOct 9, 2009 12:19 PM

    This looks delicious. Appropriately tagged under “Evil Carbs”. Not like that’s going to stop me from making it this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  20. postedOct 10, 2009 8:05 AM
    Unplanned Cooking

    This looks AMAZING! Much better than mine. I am definitely going to try this.

  21. postedOct 10, 2009 12:00 PM

    I was so sorry to miss BlogHer this year. Already registered for 2010! Love this recipe!

  22. postedOct 10, 2009 5:39 PM

    So fun to meet you. I loved putting so many real people and faces to their blogs! Thanks for the shout out.
    YUMMMM to the manicotti. I love pumpkin-y, squash-y white creamy stuff like this. Great tip about piping the filling in to the manicotti with a bag!

  23. postedOct 11, 2009 7:07 AM

    I love any thing pumpkin but throw in some pasta and bechamel sauce, and I’m all over it!

  24. postedOct 12, 2009 1:11 PM

    Looks delicious!

  25. postedOct 13, 2009 5:27 AM

    I’m glad poor Rocco got a chance to enjoy a nice evening with you all before he was subjected to the wrath of the food bloggers the next day! He was a pretty good sport about it, but I can only imagine what was going through his head!

    Love your manicotti! Such a nice change from the traditional version.

  26. postedOct 14, 2009 4:58 AM
    April Marie

    Oh my goodness, this looks insanely delish, I mean…. béchamel and pumpkin, my two very favorites!!!

  27. postedJan 30, 2012 3:51 PM
    sandra silverstein

    where is the recipe step by step please

  28. postedSep 25, 2012 6:41 AM
    Kathy V

    Can I make this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake?

    • postedSep 25, 2012 10:54 AM

      I have done so with other manicotti recipes, so this one should be fine too.

  29. postedOct 2, 2012 3:27 PM

    Made this for a wild game and natural food cook off. More time consuming than I planned on,but very very good. Oh and we came in second place!

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