I love manicotti. The end.
Just kidding. It's only the beginning.
Here's what you'll need:
- Salt and pepper
- Manicotti shells (the recipe calls for 8 from an 8 oz package)
- 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 container (15 ounce) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 package (10 ounce) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 cups prepared marinara sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta shells for about 7 minutes.
On a side note, no matter how nicely these are packaged, there are always some broken ones.
Why does that always happen to me?
I guess it's a good thing you don't use all of them. Although the broken ones still taste good. I promise.
Drain well and arrange in a single layer on an oiled rimmed baking sheet.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and lemon zest.
Hahaha. Why am I so immature?
Also, I accidentally put the whole cup in. Then I had to scoop half a cup back out. Perhaps I should learn how to read directions. Although I never do.
Anyways, stir in the spinach and season filling to taste with salt and pepper.
Now here's a cool little trick. Transfer the filling to a large zip-top plastic bag. Twist and squeeze bag so filling is in one corner. With scissors, snip a 3/4 inch opening in corner.
Pipe filling into both ends of each pasta shell.
Except that didn't work for me. I ended up using my fingers. These shells are an indication of what my hands looked like.
I guess I'm just a hands-on kinda gal. Anyways, arrange them in a glass baking dish. In another bowl, whisk together marinara sauce, oregano, and cream.
Okay, so that's not 2 tablespoons. But I like cream. What can I say?
Top the whole thing with that other half cup of Parmesan cheese.
Bake until sauce in center is bubbling and Parmesan is browned in spots (about 30 minutes).