Crab and Spinach Manicotti with a Sweet Corn Bechamel

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 6

Ingredients:

-1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)

Filling:
-1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, hand-dipped if possible
-3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
-1 egg
-8 ounces lump crab meat
-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
-1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess moisture
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Sweet Corn Bechamel
-3 cups reduced fat milk
-1 cup cooked corn kernels
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
-Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Method:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes, or amount of time recommended on package. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg, basil, crab, spinach, salt, and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the manicotti with the crab mixture and place in a baking dish greased with butter or cooking spray.

Prepare the Sweet Corn Bechamel. Puree milk and corn kernels together in a blender. Strain through a sieve and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 10 minutes (do not allow the sauce to boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Top the filled manicotti with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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