The manicotti shells in the pantry were calling me and my refrigerator stocked both spinach and ricotta. So Friday night dinner was spinach manicotti. I love the ricotta/spinach combination. The creamy and garlicky filling compliments the tangy marinara perfectly. It is a perfect bite.
My photo of baked pasta got horribly blurred so the photo above, before the marinara was poured and the pasta was baked is the best I have. I am sending this to Jyoti's Pasta Party.
7 manicotti shells
1 cup / 8 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup / 10 oz spinach frozen*
3-4 fresh basil leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups marinara or pasta sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (or more if you like)
In a large vessel, boil water for pasta. When it comes to a rolling boil, add salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente pasta. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a separate vessel, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. When the garlic starts to brown add the spinach and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the ricotta, basil, salt and pepper and mix well. Let it cook for a minute. Fill this mixture into the manicotti shells with a spoon or pastry bag. It is easier to fill them from both ends than trying to fill them from one end only. Take a 9x9 or 9x13 baking dish and put about 1 cup of marinara on the bottom of the dish. Arrange the manicotti shells on the marinara and top with the rest of the marinara and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
*If you are using fresh spinach, blanch the spinach and squeeze out the water to make 1 1/4 cups. You will also need to cook the spinach a little longer.