A few weeks ago the husband asked me what was for dinner.
Me, shrugging my shoulders: Pasta
The husband: Ok, that doesn’t narrow things down for me…at least not in this house.
Of course for a month long list of all the geeky things that make my world go around I HAD to include God’s gift to the culinary world: Pasta.
Of all the different types of pastas out there, I have to say Manicotti is my favorite. It’s my go to “I want to entertain but not put that much effort into a dish all the while looking like a professional culinary chef”
It also made a wonderful Meatless Monday because frankly everyone deserves a Monday or two to splurge on carbs…
1 package of manicotti
1.5 cups of ricotta
1/2 cup of mozzarella or other Italian cheese blend, I prefer the Italian blend from Trader Joe’s. (with about another 1/2 cup or so set aside)
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 package frozen spinach
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
generous amounts of Spaghetti sauce
In a separate bowl combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. Season with the salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Then mix in the frozen spinach and egg. The rule of thumb I like to use here is 1 egg for every 1.5 cup of ricotta. It comes in handy if you are feeding a lot of people. The mixture needs to feel like very soft dough but not runny. It should look something like this:
Now set it aside while you tend to the pasta. Whatever you do, don’t cook it all the way. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until the noodles are soft but not cooked through. You want them to still be firm so that you can stuff the filling in them. Once the pasta is finished go ahead and stuff it with the cheesy goodness mixture.
The darker colored noodles are about the way your pasta should look. The lighter ones are cooked too long and didn’t hold together as well. Cover the pasta with sauce bake in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top generously with cheese and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until it is cooked through and looks like this: