Don’t boil your noodles! Layer them with your cheese and sauce and bake away. That’s the secret that makes this dish easy enough for a random Tuesday night dinner with your family.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8-10 servings
- 4 cups of my Secret Family Recipe Spaghetti Sauce (or your favorite brand)
- 8 oz. uncooked manicotti noodles
- 2 cups fresh spinach (or arugula), chopped
- 16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
- 8 oz. smoked mozzarella, shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley + more for garnish
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine chopped spinach, ricotta, smoked mozzarella, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, a large pinch of pepper and a couple large pinches of salt.
- Transfer to a piping bag (a gallon Ziploc baggy works well too).
- Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Cut the tip off your piping bag about the width of the mancotti noodles. You’ll want a large opening so you can easily pipe the filling into the noodles. No need to cook them before you bake. They will do their magic in the oven and hold together much better.
- Pipe the filling into one end of the noodle, then flip the noodle and fill the other side. This technique will ensure that the entire inside of the noodle is filled.
- Nestle filled manicotti into the baking dish. Then pour remaining sauce in an even layer on top of the noodles.
- Tear fresh mozzarella into bite size chunks and sprinkle in an even layer over top of the noodles.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until noodles are al dente.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!
Take the extra 2 minutes to mince your own garlic. This is true for any recipe that calls for garlic. Always use fresh cloves of garlic that you have minced yourself. The jarred option might seem like a time saver, but you will definitely be able to taste a difference!
Don’t over stuff the noodles. There is literally just enough filling to fill all 12 of the noodles. If you over stuff them, chances are good you won’t have enough filling to fill all of them.
Don’t worry if it looks like too much sauce. It will look like a lot of sauce at first, but trust me it’s not! The moisture from the sauce is what’s going to cook the noodles so the dish needs to be real saucy in the beginning. After almost an hour in the oven a lot of the sauce will be absorbed into the pasta.