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Spinach Cheese Manicotti | cafedelites.com
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5 from 1 vote

Spinach Ricotta Manicotti

Spinach Ricotta Manicotti or Cannelloni with a creamy soft and flavourful filling, homemade marinara sauce and melted cheese. Pure comfort food indulgence!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Cannelloni, Manicotti
Servings: 14 stuffed manicotti tubes
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Karina

Ingredients

MANICOTTI OR CANNELLONI

  • 14 uncooked manicotti shells (or 18 dried cannelloni tubes)
  • Good pinch of salt

FILLING

  • 8 oz (250 g) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 lb (500 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz | 120 g)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

MARINARA SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or minced)
  • 28 oz (800 g) American tomato sauce, (Passata)
  • 1 cup water (swirl in tomato bottle to wash excess out for the sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons each fresh chopped basil and parsley (or 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

TOPPING

  • 1 cup fresh shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Instructions

MANICOTTI

  • In a large shallow dish, cover manicotti shells with boiling water and season generously with salt. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and set aside to soften slightly (about 7-10 minutes while you prepare your sauce).

MARINARA SAUCE

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until transparent (about 3 minutes), then addd the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the tomato sauce (Passata), water, paste and herbs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

FILLING

  • Squeeze excess water from the thawed spinach.
  • Combine filling ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

ASSEMBLE AND COOK

  • Preheat oven to 350°F | 175°C.
  • Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread out about 2 ladles (or 1 cup) of the marinara sauce on the bottom of baking dish.
  • Transfer filling mixture into a strong ziplock bag. Cut a hole in the bottom corner of the bag (see photos in post, or use a piping bag).
  • Once manicotti tubes have softened slightly but are still firm to the touch, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the boiling water to a plate. 'Pipe' filling into manicotti tubes and arrange them in a single layer over the sauce in the baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until pasta shells are cooked through.
    Serve immediately.

Notes

FOR CANNELLONI:

Use dried cannelloni tubes that do not need to be pre-boiled before cooking in the oven if you can. If you can't find them, follow pre-cooking packet instructions for what you have on hand.
  • Cover stuffed cannelloni tubes with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

LEFTOVERS

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Alternatively freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g