This Spinach Ricotta Manicotti is an Italian-American classic thatfeatures pasta shells filled with a delicious mixture of spinach and ricotta cheese then topped with red marinara sauce.
Hey, friends! Today Ive got a recipe that is perfect for meal preppers who like to plan ahead with freezer meals or people looking for a dinner idea thats a little more special than normal. Although making manicotti does take a little bit of work, its not crazy hard and really, it doesnt take too long and the reward is sooooo worth the extra time and work.
This Spinach Ricotta Manicotti is perfect for special occasions. We had it for Christmas Eve a few weeks ago and I plan on making it for my family again on Valentines Day. Its perfect for a weeknight meal and special enough to serve to company or for a holiday meal.
Yes! Spinach Ricotta Manicotti is a great make-ahead meal!
Prepare the manicotti as directed in the recipe.Cover and freeze the unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake casserole as directed in the recipe, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165.
If you prefer a creamy sauce, feel free to substitute the same amount ofAlfredo sauce in place of the marinara sauce. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
Usually, I like to slightly undercook my shells knowing they will finish off cooking in the oven. I boil my shells for 5 minutes, regardless of what the package says. Immediately rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and so the pasta doesnt become mushy.
I scoop them out of the water one by one and rinse them off immediately. This helps keep them from sticking together and from breaking.
In my experience, it is easiest and fastest to use a pastry bag without a tip (large zip-top bags work great, too!) filled with the ricotta mixture. Youll want to cut the piping hole close to the same size as the manicotti shell circumferenceto make filling quick and easy. To prevent filling from oozing out the other end of the manicotti, insert the tip halfway into the tube and fill it from the center out, then repeat with the opposite end.
Yes! You can add cooked and chopped chicken or shrimp. Or ground beef or Italian sausage that has been crumbled, browned and drained. Add your choice of protein into the ricotta mixture and fill the shells as noted in the recipe.
I usually like to serve manicotti with a simple side salad like my Italian-Style Salad. In my opinion, Garlic Bread is a must! If youre looking for something sweet to finish out the meal, I would opt for a lighter dessert like White Chocolate Lemon Truffles or Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits.
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This Spinach Ricotta Manicotta is a great make-ahead dish!
How to freeze: Prepare the manicotti as directed in the recipe.Cover and freeze the unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake casserole as directed in the recipe, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165.
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