[Warning: This is not your school lunchroom’s manicotti.]
My very first stab at making manicotti = success! I think the key ingredient to this particular recipe (besides the obvious: ricotta and spinach) is the nutmeg.
Sounds weird in a pasta, right? You’re going to have to trust me on this one, it works.
Plus, the more modern Italian fettucini alfredo recipes call for a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. So, booyah.
I love nutmeg. It tastes like no other flavoring, and as a friend pointed out to me recently, nutmeg is usually the ingredient when you’re trying to figure out what in the heck makes ____ taste so good.
Exhibit A is my favorite local soup, butternut squash bisque, found at The Bistro. So tasty. And without a doubt, includes nutmeg.
This manicotti, like lasagna, was even better the second day.
PS) With the blue plate and the basil on top, this totally looks like a Mexican dish. Oops.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Romano cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 package (13 ounces, about 12 noodles) lasagna noodles
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat the oven to 500 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is heated through, about three minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the ricotta, romano cheese and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Spray a 13X9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or olive oil spray). Lay a lasagna noodle on a work surface and spoon 1/4 cup of the filling in the middle; roll up. Place in the prepared baking dish and continue rolling and filling the noodles until you have used all of the filling.
In another bowl, stir together the cream, tomato sauce, and tomatoes. Pour over the filled noodles. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until browned and bubbling around the edges, 10-15 minutes. (Note: Keep a close eye on it after 10 minutes.)
[Source: PASTA: 200 Quick-and-Easy Recipes for Every Occasion by Jean Galton]