Manicotti is probably my all time favorite pasta recipe. I know, I know it's pretty much just lasagna shaped differently, but there's just something about it that makes me not be able to resist ordering it whenever I see it on a restaurant menu. The way the pasta tubes hold all that delicious cheese inside just makes it so darn yummy.
I usually like it with a sausage tomato sauce pored over the top, but for this recipe I went more simple and vegetarian. It's super easy to make this dish at home - if you can't find manicotti tubes, you can roll up lasagna sheets or use cannelloni - which is basically the same thing without the ridges. Try this dish! It will amaze you and all you serve it to. SO yum.
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- manicotti shells - 1 box about 12 - 14 shells
- butter - 2 tbsp
- onion - 1 medium, sliced in rounds
- garlic cloves - 3, thinly sliced
- cottage cheese - 16 ounces (450 g)
- ricotta cheese - 8 oz (250 g)
- parmesan - 1/2 cup, freshly grated plus more for garnish
- mozzarella - 2 cups, separated
- eggs - 2, beaten
- spinach - 3 cups, chopped, packed
- salt and pepper - to taste
- italian tomato sauce - 3 cups
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and grease a large casserole dish.
- In a large pot, boil the manicotti (add some oil to the water so they don't stick together) for about 2 minutes less than package instructs, then run under cold water before draining and set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat then add the onion and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more, until the onion is soft then remove from heat and set aside.
- Put the cottage cheese (drain any excess liquid), ricotta, parmesan, 1 cup of the mozzarella in a large bowl and mix well.
- Stir in the beaten eggs, the spinach and onion until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
- Spread about 1 cup of the tomato sauce evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Stuff the manicotti shells full with cheese and spinach mixture and arrange on top of the sauce. (you can spoon the filling into the shells, or put it in a ziplock bag, then cut the corner and pipe the cheese mixture in)
- Pour the remaining 2 cups of sauce over the shells and use a spoon to move them around a bit so the sauce gets between the manicotti, then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top and cover with foil.
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes, until the cheese is beginning to turn golden and the sauce is bubbling.