I love Manicotti, but sadly I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had it over the last several years. Don’t get me wrong, I love delicious tubes of cheese but it’s not always my go-to meal choice. When I had a craving for them the other day, I decided to go with it but of course I made it in my own style. My favorite part about this recipe is that the filling can easily be transformed into a Spinach Artichoke dip.
***I used egg based shells here but if you find a good brand this can easily become vegan
Ingredients:--Makes about 4-6 servings
12 Manicotti pasta shells (8 oz. package)
4 cups Cashew Ricotta cheese (double this recipe if using, you will have some leftover)
2 cups pasta sauce (I used a homemade summer sauce--recipe coming soon)
1 Tbsp dried Basil (can use minced fresh basil)
1 ½ C frozen spinach
5 garlic cloves
Salt/Pepper to taste
½ White Onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add spinach, garlic, onion, and salt/pepper to taste. Saute the veggies stirring often to avoid letting the garlic get too brown (about 5 minutes). When done, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool dow
Make your ricotta cheese, remove from the food processor about ⅓ of the cheese into another bowl and set aside.
Add the spinach mix to ricotta cheese already in the food processor and puree until smooth.
Keep cheese mixture in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Follow the instructions for your Manicotti shells. Mine required placing into boiling water for 7 minutes then allowing to cool on a tray.
In approx. a 9x13 inch baking dish (with a lid to be used for later), pour ¾ C of the pasta sauce into the bottom of the dish
Using a piping bag or a zip lock bag with a ¼ inch hole cut into the corner, squeeze ricotta cheese into each tube and place in the baking dish and cover with remaining sauce.
Top off the dish with dollops of the plain cheese (your preference how much to use) and sprinkle with Basil.
Place dish into the oven on the center rack and allow to bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove dish from the oven and cover with the baking dish lid. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.