This week's Fun Monday was brought to you by Beccy. She's hungry, so she wants to have some recipes. Check her out for the full list of FMers.
My recipe originated at Capay Organic, and I totally thank them because it took a long time to find a manicotti recipe that used fresh (not frozen) spinach. Thanks guys! I keep meaning to check out their other recipes but never get around to it (they have a million).
My entire family LOVES this recipe, from my Grandma right down to my daughter (who normally never wants to eat anything but white soup, oatmeal, and candy). This was my trick recipe to get her to eat some vegetables. I will warn you, this recipe involves A LOT of chopping, so if your the type that hates to chop this recipe will be a pain. So without further ado:
Spinach Manicotti !
(my additions will appear like so)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced (I generally add an extra clove or two-I love garlic)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (The fresh part is important as I've tried it the other way and lost a lot of flavor)
1/3 cup red wine (The cheaper the wine the better I've found)
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 container (15 oz.) fat-free ricotta cheese
1 bunch chopped spinach (This ingredient confuses me-I usually use 1 bag of baby spinach I live where the produce sucks so this tends to be fresher than the actual available spinach)
1-1/2 cups shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese, about 6 ounces, divided
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 lb. manicotti noodles (I like to use giant shells instead, they're easier to fill. I always break the manicotti noodles, but use the manicotti when feeding a bunch of people otherwise you'll need too many pans)
1 onion, finely chopped
(one red pepper-cooked on a stove burner until the skin is black and then remove skin and seeds and dice)
(dash of brown sugar)
(dash of fresh oregano)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in skillet over high heat.
Add onion & garlic; cook until golden. Remove 1/2 of mixture; set aside.
To remaining onion mixture in skillet add tomatoes, wine, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, & 1/4 tsp. pepper (red pepper, brown sugar, and oregano). Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stir often, 20 minutes.
Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, egg whites, nutmeg, reserved onion mixture & remaining salt & pepper.
Fill each cooked manicotti noodle with cheese mixture. Place in baking dish; pour sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake until cheese is melted. Serves 7
For those who don't know what manicotti looks like I stole this picture from I Love Pasta. I need to impress upon you that there is A LOT more sauce on mine, and the stuffing is a lot greener from the spinach.