I’d say aside from chocolate, one of may favorite foods is pasta. Any kind of pasta. I usually make penne or angel hair, spaghetti or rigatoni. I rarely make stuffed pastas because they seem like so much work. I decided to try this manicotti, though, not because it seemed easier (you don’t have to boil the shells!), not because it was lighter, but because the filling had cottage cheese instead of ricotta. My sister used to make us lasagna when we lived at home, and I loved it. She used cottage cheese between the layers of pasta and sauce, and it was always a bit chewy, very flavorful, and not too cheesy. Most stuffed pasta recipes call for ricotta, which is good in its own way, but which I find too gritty and creamy–I always end up smushing out the excess ricotta from manicotti or shells or lasagna.

Anyway, this recipe is a definite repeater. It wasn’t too difficult, though stuffing the manicotti shells took some time. I thought the original recipe for the filling needed a bit more flavor, so I added garlic powder and basil, which turned out perfectly. Justin even loved this, and he’s not a fan of cooked spinach (although he was a bit upset that I hid it from him). Enjoy!

Easy Meatless Manicotti

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375�F.

Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 7 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of marinara sauce into a 13×9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into the dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 7 servings.

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

5 responses to “Mmmmmmanicotti…”

  1. Looks good. You might try to put the filling in a ziploc bag and cut the corner of it to make it like a pastry bag and pipe it in the shells???? Works with frosting, maybe it could work with pasta!! See you soon!

  2. Great idea Michelle! Let’s see… 8:18 am and I am looking at this recipe thinking it would make a GREAT breakfast right about now. 😀 Yum! Thanks for the recipe Crys!

  3. You have a ‘Title-less’ post entry. My RSS reader had a hoot of a time reading the post since it didnt have a title. Just your friendly reminder! 🙂 (I still want a camera so I can make cool posts like you!!!)

  4. Oops! I totally forgot the title! Thanks for letting me know…

  5. wow those look yummy, though we’re vegan. very beautiful presentations, and gorgeous photos! here via michele’s again!

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