I was looking for a meat free dish the other day and Dana suggested manicotti. I have had this stuffed shell dish, but have never attempted to make it. So here is my attempt and ultimate success. They were delicious. The cheese and spinach stuffing was the best.
Served with a basic marinara these manicotti were awesome.
- 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 box manicotti shells (usually 14 in a pack)
- 2-3 cups marinara sauce, (use your favorite or try my quick and easy marinara recipe)
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Freshly ground pepper
- Kosher or sea salt
Thaw the spinach and then squeeze out any liquid using a couple of sheets of paper towels.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When you have a rolling boil, place the pasta shells in it and cook until al dente. The box should have suggested times for cooking the pasta till al dente. This can be used as a base time to check the pasta. Always make sure to check at least a minute or two before the time listed on the box. Strain the pasta and set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Then coat the bottom of the pan with marinara sauce (roughly 3/4 cup).
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, eggs, and drained spinach. Mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a small spoon or piping bag, place the cheese mixture into the manicotti shells. Once the shells are filled place them into the baking dish.
Cover with your desired amount of sauce. This is a personal preference, I do not like my pasta drenched in sauce, however some do. This is up to you.
Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned.
Serve with a side salad and garlic bread. Try this delicious braided garlic bread.