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Weeknight Cooking in a Messy Kitchen: Spinach Manicotti

March 18, 2010

Allora, time for some Italian food.

Eat Better America is one of my all-time favorite websites and their spinach manicotti is probably my favorite recipe on their site.  The whole process is a tad time consuming. It’s definitely not a whip-it-up-in-10-minutes kind of dinner. But if you’re having a relaxed evening (or need to impress someone) and don’t have anywhere to be for a little while, this is a great, healthy (vegetarian!) meal. It’s one of those that takes some effort to make and deserves to be enjoyed slowly. Over copious amounts of wine.

Start by cooking manicotti shells in boiling water. Be careful not to crush them. Because, you know, they’re shells and you need them intact.

Prep your filling. You’ll need to stir one egg, 15 oz. of ricotta cheese, one cup of shredded cheese (I use an Italian blend), a little bit of red pepper flakes, and one package of thawed frozen spinach.

I effed up the spinach. I was thawing it in the microwave and forgot about it. It came out steaming.

It was so hot that I couldn’t squeeze the excess water out of it. So I used paper towels and the whole situation got messy. I never said I was a professional, you guys. I just like to cook good food, okay?

Get out a big ol’ baking dish and put about a cup of pasta sauce in the bottom. It doesn’t matter what kind of sauce it is. I just buy the cheap stuff and it’s pretty tasty. (After eating this, I wish I would’ve gone with a fancier sauce. Damn.)

Okay, here comes the stuffing of the manicotti. The secret to stuffing the shells is actually slicing the manicotti along the bottom.

Spoon a sufficient amount of the cheesy spinachy goodness onto the shell. Enough so it’s substantial but not so much that you can’t close the shell again.

Roll the shell up. See? No one will know that you sliced it!

Place the filled shells seam side down on top of the sauce.

Once you’re finished, cover all the shells with the remaining sauce. It’s a saucy dish, just like you.

Also, I recommending wearing an apron for this recipe. The sauce splashes and I totally learned that the hard way.

DON’T PUT CHEESE ON IT YET. I screwed up again. This step is supposed to happen after you bake it for 30 minutes. But I got excited and jumped the gun and cheesified it right off the bat. (Full disclosure post dining: This actually didn’t seem to matter much. So if you put cheese on it at this step, don’t fret.)

Cover with foil and bake it for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Put the cheese on it and bake it again, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes.

I like to make this in the afternoon on my day off. I’ll just pop it in the oven when Joe gets home from work. And then we eat half of it (fatties, indeed) and save the other half for lunch the next few days. ENJOY!

(In other news, home girl needs to get her hair trimmed, whaaat.)

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 8:20 pm

    Oh that recipe looks tasty! I’ll have to check that Web site out too. I’ve made manicotti before really want to try it again. Nice job!

  2. March 18, 2010 9:16 pm

    In my family, my mom is known for her manicotti. I may have to make this and see what the family thinks.

  3. March 19, 2010 9:16 am

    I NEED to make that. It looks SO GOOD.

    Also (random): You have such a pretty smile! I’m envious 🙂

  4. March 19, 2010 10:37 am

    YUM. I love me anything Italian. It also seems most Italian recipes are time consuming… 🙂 And your hair is adorable!

  5. March 19, 2010 11:08 am

    These are some of my favorite posts from you. I’d like some pasta now please!

  6. mrssoup permalink
    March 19, 2010 1:52 pm

    You are so adorable. And WAY more talented in the kitchen than I am.

  7. March 19, 2010 2:04 pm

    Slit the shells on the bottom!! WHAT!? Why didn’t I THINK OF THAT EVER??

  8. March 19, 2010 10:03 pm

    That sounds so yummy and not too hard! Adam doesn’t eat spiniach though….I would have to come up with another filling….

  9. March 22, 2010 1:36 pm

    No, YOU’RE a saucy dish!

  10. March 24, 2010 6:49 pm

    I am making this for dinner this weekend.

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