10 uncooked manicotti shells
8 ounces mild Italian sausage (I use Graziano’s)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 egg whites
3 cups fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups meatless marinara sauce (I used my homemade recipe)
1/2 cup water
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble sausage into a nonstick skillet; add the red pepper and onion. Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Drain manicotti; set aside.
In a bowl, combine the sausage mixture, egg whites, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, fennel and pepper. Stuff into manicotti shells. Combine spaghetti sauce and water; spread 1/2 cup in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Stuffing the manicotti shells can be somewhat of a challenge. I used my husband, he used a spoon, it tore up all the shells. Soooooo, I would recommend using a cookie shooter. I definately will the next time we make this!