I think that the commercials for Olive Garden are starting to get to me! Well, maybe they are inspiring me! I kept seeing commercials for manicotti or other stuffed pastas and decided that I needed to find a recipe and make my own. I will admit that I also saw a recipe similar to this one on Everyday Food on PBS, but their manicotti had mushrooms in them so I knew that wasn’t going to fly with my husband. My challenge was to find a recipe that didn’t contain mushrooms but still looked good. Of course I went to my trusty stand by for recipes: Cooking Light. I really liked this recipe but I think it needs some meat. I could see it being good with ground turkey or some turkey sausage.
I found it quite interesting that in this recipe you don’t boil the pasta and then stuff it. You stuff them when they are still hard and add water to the pan so they essentially cook or soften while they bake. I was amazed at how long the recipe called for these to bake. They did turn out well. I think I will keep looking for another recipe. I might have to consult one of my many cookbooks! Hmm! Such a novel idea!
You’ll have to pardon the browned cheese in the pictures, but it was delicious. Enjoy!
Easy Meatless Manicotti
source: Cooking Light
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
- 1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.