Thursday, March 6, 2008


Spinach and ricotta manicotti (recipe in the comments)
Salad with pears

Hot tea
This recipe was inspired by one on a can of Contadina brand tomatoes. Recipes on packages are often really good, as they're hoping to sell you their product. That said, the original relied too heavily on prepared ingredients and didn't have enough spinach or punchy enough flavor. We also thought it wasn't saucy enough. At any rate, we came up with this version of spinach and ricotta manicotti and are really pleased with it. You'll note that the recipe still includes tomatoes with roasted garlic and tomato paste with Italian herbs. You can use these if they're easy to find or simply increase the garlic or herbs you add if you can't get the prepared versions easily. The stores we shop in these days only sell regular tomato paste, so we just add some extra basil, oregano, and parsley. I've always wanted to try this with fat-free ricotta, but seem to always hesitate. Maybe next time :)

I'd also like to plug this particular recipe for anyone who has a fear of the time commitment required for "stuffed" food. My mom refuses to make things that require stuffing (manicotti, pasta shells, dumplings, etc), which is a stance I can sympathize with. It does take an extra minute. That said, this is a simple recipe that requires almost no chopping, so the extra step doesn't really add much prep time. Besides, who could turn down a pan of fresh cooked manicotti?

Prep Notes
Difficulty: Moderate
Chopping: Garlic, Parmesan
Time: 30 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to bake
Make ahead: These reheat extremely well.

J: "There's nothing that says dinner like a big pan of cheesy goodness." (With apologies to my lactose intolerant readers. Is there a goat or tofu ricotta?)
M: "Stuffed goodness."

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