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Spinach And Ricotta Manicotti

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Spinach And Ricotta Manicotti
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Rating: 
Makes: 6 servings adjust
Technically not a true manicotti because it calls for using rolled pasta sheets rather than pasta tubes or crepes (crespelle) but tastes just as good without the pain of stuffing the tubes. (Could easily use this filling for crepe-style manicotti. See additional recipe for Manicotti Crepes).

NOTE on ricotta cheeses...Try to find a higher-end ricotta cheese that does not contain a stabilizer such as xanthin or guar gum. The ricottas with these stabilizers tend to hold together well but are invariably grainy and bland. Higher-end ricottas contain no stabilizers and have a much fresher flavor, but are not so good at retaining their water as they heat up. To combat that issue this recipe calls for the ricotta to be drained on towels for a few minutes. It's an extra step but the flavor and texture difference is worth it.

Directions

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, see note on ricotta cheeses in recipe description

Step 1

Line a large plate or a rimmed baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Spread ricotta on top and cover with more paper towels or another clean kitchen towel. Let drain for 5 minutes, then remove towels and transfer ricotta to a large bowl. (You may need to use a spatula to scrape all of the ricotta off the towels.) Set aside.

Ingredients

  • 6 Fresh Lasagna Pasta Sheets, can be found in the refrigerator case at most grocery stores. can substitute 6 sheets dry no-boil lasagna noodles instead.
  • Kosher Salt

Step 2

IF USING FRESH PASTA (for dry no-boil noodles see step 3): Cut pasta sheets into twelve 4x4 squares. (My sheets were about 5x9 so I just stacked them, cut an inch off the to make 5x8 sheets and then cut that in half to make 4x5 rectangles). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, add pasta squares to boiling water, 6 at a time. Cook for 30 seconds, then, using tongs, transfer to a clean kitchen towel to drain, laying them out in a single layer. Repeat until all pasta squares are cooked, reserving boiling water for step 4. Set aside, keeping squares separated from each other. Continue with step 4.
 

Step 3

IF USING NO-BOIL LASAGNA NOODLES:: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Place noodles in a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish. Using a ladle, transfer just enough boiling water from the pot to cover noodles. (Keep remaining boiling water to boil spinach and arugula in step 4, adding more if water level gets too low.) Let pasta sit, agitating occasionally, until pliable but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta, then dry on a clean kitchen towel. Cut each noodle in half crosswise to make twelve 4- by 4-inch squares of pasta. Set aside, keeping them separated from each other to avoid sticking. Wipe casserole dish dry.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Fresh Spinach, washed
  • 8 ounces Fresh Baby Arugula, washed

Step 4

Add spinach and arugula to leftover boiling pasta water and cook just until wilted, about 20-30 seconds. Drain greens into a colander set in the sink. Run under cold water until thoroughly chilled. Shake to thoroughly drain.
 

Step 5

Spread greens over a clean kitchen towel or double layer of heavy duty paper towels and roll into a tight tube. Squeeze over sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 medium Garlic Clove, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
  • 12 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 12 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Step 6

Add drained and chopped greens to bowl with ricotta. In a small bowl beat together the egg, garlic, nutmeg, pepper and salt.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, lo-moisture
  • 2 ounces Grated Parmesan Cheese

Step 7

Add 6 ounces of mozzarella, 2 ounces of Parmesan and the egg mixture to the ricotta and greens. Fold with a spoon or spatula to thoroughly combine.
 

Step 8

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Spaghetti Sauce

Step 9

Spread 2 cups of tomato sauce in an even layer in casserole dish. Working with 1 square/rectangle of pasta at a time, place a few tablespoons of ricotta mixture in a row along the center of the square, then roll it up. (NOTE: If using the 4x5 rectangles that I used, you want the 4-inch side to be the width of the roll and the 5-inch side is used to roll around the filling) Place roll, seam side down, in casserole dish. Continue until all of pasta and filling are used up. NOTE: I did 2 rows of 6 each.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Spaghetti Sauce
  • 2 ounces Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 6 ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, lo-moisture

Step 10

Spoon 2 cups sauce over manicotti rolls. Sprinkle all over with 2 ounces of Parmesan. Sprinkle 6 ounces of mozzarella cheese over all.
 

Step 11

Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray to prevent cheese from sticking. Cover baking dish tightly with sprayed foil.
 

Step 12

Place dish in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or so until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 handful Fresh Basil, minced; can substitute parsley

Step 13

Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve.
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