Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cheese Manicotti

Most manicotti recipes tell you to boil the noodles before stuffing them; I’ve found that unless I’m in a real hurry, doing this is just a hassle since I end up throwing half of them away since they break when I’m stuffing them. Baking them for just a few minutes longer really is much easier.
Sometimes when I have leftover filling I’ll freeze it to use later in stuffed chicken parmesan, or as part of the ricotta cheese layer in lasagna.
To quickly thaw the spinach, without cooking it place in a colander and cold water over it.

16 uncooked manicotti shells
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry
¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped (1 Tbsp. dry)
2 jars (26 oz each) marinara sauce
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9X13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small bow beat eggs, mix in ricotta cheese, ¾ c. parmesan cheese, 3 c. mozzarella, parsley and spinach (mixture should be thick, add more cheese if needed).
3. Stuff cheese mixture into shells. Place in prepared baking dish, pour marinara sauce over the shells and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
4. Bake covered for 55 minutes, remove foil and bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

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