What’s For Dinner: Baked Manicotti

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So, I forwent (?) Slow Cooker Sunday to create a meal I have been craving for ages now: Baked Manicotti.  It all started a few weeks ago when we went to dinner for my Dad’s birthday at an amazing little spot in the Italian Market, Villa Di Roma (unreal authentic Italian fare).  I saw manicotti on the menu and immediately knew I HAD to have it…and immediately was informed that they were out.  OUT?! Argh.  Anyway, I attempted a re-creation last night for dinner.  Give it a try.  I will list some modifications I’d do next time after tasting it (this one is tricky because you can’t taste the filling due to the raw egg so you have to wait until cooked).

Ingredients used (minus a jar of sauce; was too lazy to make my own)

Modifications I’d make next time:

-If I had the time, I’d make my own sauce (duh)

-Get grater parmesan rather than the powdery stuff

-Mince my own onions, although the recipes I sorted through on-line kept saying “minced onion” I thought pertaining to the spice?  But the onion flavor could have been stronger.

Directions:

1.  Mix a container of ricotta, one egg, one package of frozen chopped spinach (cooked and cooled), a quarter cup of parmesan and a cup of shredded mozzarella in a bowl.

2.  Pour about a cup of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.  Add water to the rest of the jar, shaking violently (ha) until blended.  The extra water will be needed to cook the pasta.  Don’t think twice like- whaaa watered down gravy!!??  Trust it.

3.  Stuff the uncooked manicotti shells with the spinach/cheese mixture.  Try not to get too frustrated. It is SUPER annoying.  I used a tool like the one below to “slide and stuff.”  It took foreeeeever.

4.  Admire your work.  Seriously, after all the stuffing, you WILL be thinking “these better be good.”

5.  Dump the rest of the sauce mixed with the water into/onto the baking dish, fully covering the manicotti.

6.  Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top (about a cup) along with “some” parmesan (use your discretion).

7.  Bake for 50 minutes on 375.  This will give you al dente noodles (how I like).  If you want them more tender, cook and extra 5 minutes.

8.  Make your garlic bread while waiting.  Here is the way I make it:  Slice the bread, melt butter, spread butter on bread, spread minced (fresh is better) garlic on bread.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Throw in oven for last 5 minutes of baking time of whatever dish you are baking. Easy peasy lemon squeezy..(?)

9.  Enjoy!

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