Manicotti with Cheese, Spinach and Artichokes

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Ingredients

Sauce*

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

28 oz can of tomatoes, undrained

6 oz can tomato paste

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt ( more to taste – don’t be shy with tomato sauce)

1 Tbsp sugar

pinch of red pepper flakes

½ cup red wine

Filling

1 box manicotti shells (my box had 15)

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese

4 oz cream cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)

1 egg

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

½ box of frozen chopped spinach **

½ package frozen artichoke hearts, chopped (This is optional – I wanted to try something special.)

Directions

Make sauce. In a large pot over medium high heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until softened.

Add remaining ingredients, lower heat and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally for an hour.

*I doubled the sauce for a large crowd.

Make filling. Combine all cheeses, egg, and seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Add spinach and artichoke hearts and mix to blend.

Boil shells for two minutes less than package directions and drain.  They will be easier to stuff if they are not fully cooked.

Lots of people probably have genius ways to stuff the pasta shells, but I like to do it with my hands, messy, but less chance of splitting the shells.

Layer sauce with stuffed shells and more sauce.

Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

This can be refrigerated until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes until bubbling and browned on top.

Bonus Recipe

**Use leftover spinach, artichokes, and cream cheese to make a dip. Add Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and a healthy splash of sherry. Bake until heated through and serve with your favorite crackers!

 

© Deer One Publishing 2017