California Central Coast Recipes
Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style
Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style is one of our more sophisticated pastas, though still very much in the Mama-cooking tradition. Partially-cooked manicotti tubes are filled with spinach, nutmeg, and onion, combined with ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses, then baked with home made Marinara Sauce and a topping of mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan cheese. This is one "killer-recipe" that you'll want to use time and again when you are cooking for a crowd. And even better you can make it ahead of time and do the baking closer to dinner-time. This is always a crowd-pleaser.
As with all Mama style recipes, use you own taste to style the recipe, A little more cheese, a little more sauce... what ever you like, it's all good!
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 50 minutes
1/2 Recipe Basic Marinara Sauce
8 ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach , lightly steamed and drained
1/2 cup White onion , chopped
1 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly cracked Black pepper to taste
16 ounces Ricotta Cheese
8 ounces Parmesan cheese
2 Italian parsley , chopped
1 egg,, lightly beaten
1/2 t. Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste.
14 Manicotti shells.
2 Tablespoons Dry Bread Crumbs
4 oz. Grated Mozzarella Cheese ,optional
1 Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.
2 Cook the pasta in a large stockpot of salted boiling water, for about 5-7 minutes to very al dente. When done, remove and drain the pasta shells well.
3 Add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent and sweet, about 5 minutes.
4 While the onion is cooking, cook the spinach with a few tablespoons of water in a covered pan over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes (depending upon how thawed the spinach is) until al dente. When done, remove from the heat and drain well trying to get as much water out as you can.
5 To a food processor, add the spinach, cooked onion, chopped parsley, ricotta, 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Process for a few seconds to a nice even consistency. Taste the mixture for salt and pepper and correct to personal taste. Finally, add in the egg and pulse for a few seconds to mix well.
6 Loosely fill the manicotti tubes with the mixture (a pastry bag really speeds up the process). The secret is not to overfill the tubes, you want to taste the pasta AND filling with each bite.
7 Coat the bottom of a baking pan large enough to hold all the shells in a single layer, with a layer of Marinara sauce. Place the shells in the pan side by side. Top the pasta with a coat of Marinara, Cover this with a layer of the optional grated mozzarella cheese and remaining grated Parmesan cheese. Finish by sprinkling the dry bread crumbs over the top.
8 Place in the hot oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes or until browned on top and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.
Serve with a tomato friendly rustic red wine. A young Sangiovese or Grenache would be a good choice.