Tuesday, December 13, 2011

~Spinach Manicotti in Creamy Tomato Sauce~

picture from marthastewart.com

Everyday Food, December 2010
  • Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Total Time 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield Serves 4


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 manicotti shells (from an 8-ounce package)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


             1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Drain well and arrange in a single layer on an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and lemon zest. Stir in spinach and season filling to taste with salt and pepper.

2.    Transfer filling to a large zip-top plastic bag. Twist and squeeze bag so filling is in one corner. With scissors, snip a 3/4-inch opening in corner. Pipe filling into both ends of each pasta shell. Arrange stuffed shells in an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

         3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together marinara sauce, oregano, and cream. Pour sauce evenly over      stuffed shells and top with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until sauce in center of dish is bubbling and Parmesan is browned in spots, about 30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

It's a good thing...or is it?

Life has been interesting on the home front.  My father has recently come to stay with us until he can find another place. This changes our family dynamics a bit, but of course I am willing to do what I can for my father.  What's one more, right?  ;)...(Thanks, Morgan and Ben...Love, Dad)

The Manicotti with spinach was tasty!  Cheesy, tomatoey and noodley.  Perfect combo?  Yeah!  As with all of the recipes this year, this was another newbie.  Never before have I prepared Manicotti, and I was pleased with the results and the pats on the back were nice too.  Do consider this recipe on a night when, well let's admit it, food is the only thing that will make you smile, sigh, and sink back into your chair with bliss.  Enjoy!

                                                                           Photo Gallery

Since my Dad has come to stay with us he has been busy in my kitchen tidying up this and that.  Check out a few new additions to my sanctuary. 

My peg board wall, used as a pot hanger, now displays properly labeled tags.  This is a very convenient for me, as I never seem to recall what pan sizes or pan capacities I have on hand.

My Dad sure loves my label maker (maybe a little too much information, Dad...yeah, yeah I know we have French culinaria in us but our German attention to detail is showing here).

This is my ever-so-utilitarian and useful pot rack that my Dad installed.

The Man-i-cotti (if it has man in it, then maybe
the guys will like it?)

First, the spinach, Parm, and ricotta are blended together.

The tomato sauce and cream

Once the noodles were cooked, the spinach and cheese can be "piped" into the noodles with a sandwich bag that is cut at an angle (another new technique for me, because I usually use a pastry bag for such tasks).

After the noodles were filled, the creamy sauce is poured atop the pasta.

The leftover cheese is sprinkled on, crowning this dish as a king!

Hot from the oven, the Manicotti is now ready for serving.


Dad was particularly thrilled with the dinner.  He told me that he is becoming a huge fan of Martha now that he gets to try some of these recipes.  He says that, "Martha democratizes good taste in cooking, crafts and gardening."

Ben made super cool napkins for our dinner table. 

Well, the kids only nibbled at the dinner.  But, they sure looked cute while eating.

~Dinner Was Served~

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