Even though it says spring on the calendar it sure doesn’t feel like it around here! Last Friday we even got some snow! Oh well, even more of a reason to stay indoors and cook! But what to cook? I was completely undecided except that I knew I felt like some type of pasta dish. So I poked around in the pantry and fridge hoping inspiration would hit and boy did it ever! When I opened my refrigerator and saw a container of ricotta I knew — gooey, cheesy, warm Manicotti <sigh> oh man, that’s it!
Making your own Manicotti is a bit of work to put together but definitely not difficult so don’t let a few steps scare you. I had frozen some pasta from the last time I made a batch so I took that out to thaw. However if you don’t have any homemade pasta on hand and don’t feel like making any then you can also use the pre-made shells from the store. I try to do fresh when I can but I can’t say I’ve never used store-bought myself! Either works.
Serve Manicotti with a salad and some crusty bread and you’ll have a delicious home cooked meal you’ll want to make again and again!
Assembly = 20 minutes
Bake = 20 minutes
Pasta (fresh or store-bought)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup spinach
1 15 oz contain Ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup marinara sauce
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Fresh pasta rolled in wide strips (think a bit wider than lasagna noodles) takes about 3 minutes to cook. For store-bought shells, follow the directions on the package. Drain pasta and cool.
Meanwhile make the Ricotta filling.
Cook minced garlic and 1 cup of spinach in a skillet for about 5 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Set aside and let cool slightly.
In bowl mix Ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Add cooked spinach and garlic. Mix.
When the cooked pasta has cooled, spoon or pipe the cheese mixture into the pre-made shells. For the fresh pasta, spoon or pipe the filling near the middle the entire length of the pasta. Life one side of the noodle over the filling and roll forming a long tube. Cut into equal sections, around 5 inches or so.
In a 13×9 inch baking pan pour 1/2 cup of the marinara and spread it over bottom of pan. Place Manicotti side by side in pan. Cover with remaining 1/2 cup of sauce. Top with Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
If using your own pasta dough do not roll too thin. I have found if you do the pasta sheets tend to fall apart when cooked making it very difficult to roll or shape the manicotti. As I stated, I have a pasta attachment for my mixer and when making pasta for manicotti I do not go above a setting of 5.