Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Boil Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

I wanted to make manicotti on Sunday night and Mr. Rainbow Creek suggested that it could be done "no boil" like you do the lasagna. I wasn't so sure of that, even though I do use regular lasagna noodles without boiling rather than buying the no boil kind. I googled for a no boil manicotti recipe and found a few, but then some of them started out with directions for boiling the pasta first. So I decided to wing it and I was really happy with how easy it was and it turned out fantastic.
The thing I hate about making manicotti is that the boiled pasta usually splits open when you stuff them with the cheese mixture, not to mention that you have to dirty a pan to cook them, then drain them and keep them from sticking together.

For the no boil method I used a large pastry bag with a large straight tip and just squeezed the filling in, no muss, no fuss. If you don't have a pastry bag you can try putting the filling in a large zip lock bag and cutting off the corner to make a large enough hole to pipe the filling through.


This recipe makes a 13 X 9 pan size. I always spray my pan with non-stick spray for easier cleaning.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

4 ounces white mushroom or baby bella mushrooms chopped

6 ounces fresh baby spinach chopped

1 clove garlic
olive oil

1 package manicotti pasta shells

8 ounces riccotta cheese

1 cup grated mozzerella cheese + extra for topping

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs

2 jars spaghetti sauce

Saute the mushrooms and smashed garlic clove on medium heat in large skillet with a Tbl of olive oil. Add the spinach and saute until wilted.

Cover the bottom of pan with about 1 cup of the sauce.


Mix cheeses, eggs and the spinach mixture. Fill uncooked shells with filling mixture. Pour sauce over the top to completely cover. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of water over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and top with additional cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
This is a good make ahead dish too. If you are going to make ahead I wouldn't add the water before refrigerating. If your family doesn't enjoy spinach and mushroom you can do this with just cheese and maybe a little fresh chopped basil for the filling.
Enjoy!




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