I’ve been working really hard on becoming a beautiful Home Maker, as mentioned here, and part of that is making wonderful meals. I’ve begun making desserts more often, and I’m also going to try to get more of those recipes onto here for your pleasure. Today, I’m going to wow you with my own version of Manicotti.
One of the things that I pride myself on is my ability to turn left-overs into something awesome. This was one of those left-overs meals. You see, I Husband had requested pizza last week, a recipe I will get up here the next time that I make it and manage to photograph it before it’s all eaten. I used to make a simple sauce of canned tomatoes, salt, and pepper, but after Husband made a spaghetti sauce from an online recipe, I switched. I say all that to simply say that I had left over pizza / spaghetti sauce that I needed to use up, and I chose to make manicotti.
So I boiled up some manicotti pasta, and while it was cooking, I got busy on the filling.
Manicotti is traditionally filled with some sort of ricotta mixture, but I’m not traditional. I make my lasagna with cream cheese. Don’t sneer, it’s delicious. And I decided to make my manicotti in a similar way. I used 8 oz. of low-fat ricotta and half a brick of no-fat cream cheese. Husband is trying to slim down, and being the good wife that I am, I’m trying to oblige.
You can see that I use a ‘disher’ to scoop out the ricotta. I find that this makes it easier to actually get it all where I need it to go, instead of getting stuck on the spoon.
I then added salt, pepper, and chopped fresh parsley and some basil from my miracle plant outside, and on a whim, a bit of fresh mozzarella I had on hand. Then, I mashed it all together.
I brought out a baking dish, and spread some of my sauce onto the bottom.
Then came the hard part, filling the manicotti tubes. I used a narrow tea spoon to do the job, and I must say that this is much easier IF you allow the pasta to cool first. Once they were filled, I placed them into the dish, on top of the sauce.
I had a bit of filling left over, so I kinda spread it on top, and in between the noodles. Then I covered the whole thing with more sauce, and topped that with the remaining bits of mozzarella. In the future, I will use more cheese so that it spreads as I had hoped. You’ll see what I mean soon.
I then popped it into a 350 degree oven, and baked it for maybe 30 minutes. I don’t really cook by time, preferring instead to cook by smell and look. Once the cheese on top was looking brown on the edges, I pulled it out.
I decided to plate it with some garlic bread made from an Asiago loaf that I coated in butter, salt, garlic powder — don’t tell Gordon Ramsey, and some shredded parmigiana.
Now do yo see why I’ll go with more, and shredded cheese, next time? Yeah, the dots of mozzarella looked a bit strange. On the bright side, Husband said it was like eating in a restuarant. Even better, since I used the no-fat cream cheese, it was lower in calorie than real manicotti, but if you’re not worried about that, feel free to use any version of cream cheese you like.
Let me know how it goes!
Makes 4 tubes
4 manicotti tubes, boiled to al dente, even a little under
8 oz. low-fat ricotta
Half brick (4 oz) of cream cheese – no/low/full fat – your choice
Fresh parsley, chopped
4 small basil leaves, chopped – more or less depending on your tastes; I think I’ll go with less next time
Shredded mozzarella, for filling and on top.
Sauce, from here, but I would use a mere tablespoon of oil when making it — it calls for a 1/4 cup!
Mix filling ingredients together, and fill tubes.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in baking dish.
Place filled pasta on top.
Pour sauce over top of tubes.
Spread shredded cheese on top of sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees until cheese bubbles, and browns a bit.
Let cool some before tearing in; it’s hot!