Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
15 min
1 hr

6 servings

  • 1 pound fresh spinach, stems trimmed and well washed or a 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
  • Kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 12 manicotti shells
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a mixture of half Pecorino and Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
  • Sprig of fresh thyme
  • Sprig of fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and season generously with salt. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and season with salt, as well. Boil the spinach, uncovered, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, (do not drain), and immediately plunge the spinach into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the excess water from the spinach, and finely chop. Alternatively, if using thawed spinach, simply squeeze, and finely chop.

  • In the same large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta shells until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain and pat dry.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Cover the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, evenly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the eggs, and the spinach. Season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Spoon the cheese mixture into the manicotti shell and line them up in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce. Scatter the remaining cheese on top and dot with the butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

  • Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups

  • Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.9 20
The best I've ever had the cheese mixture inside not at all dry. It was delicious. Thanks food network. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great recipe to entertain with. I'll definitely make this again! It's worth the extra time to blanch the spinach. It gives the dish a fresh flavor that isn't there if you use frozen spianch. I added 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the filling, and like other reviewers recommended, put the filling into a sealed ziploc bag with a tip cut off of a corner to fill the shells. I added chopped fresh parsley, basil, thyme leaves, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper to the marinara sauce. I bought a can of diced tomatos in juice... I see now the recipe called for tomatoes in puree. The sauce had great flavor but was a little thin. I think tomato puree is the key. Either buy a can of puree and add diced tomatoes or tomatoes in puree if you can find it. The onions need to sautee for longer than 3 minutes to get tender. Finally, I covered the dish with foil while baking until the last few minutes to make sure the shells didn't dry out. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for my step-father for his birthday. It came great but I added sweet sausage and a little extra spices and it made it even better. I will have to say that the marinara sauce was a little to runny. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very good recipe and easy to make! I didn't have enough fresh spinach, so I had to supplement with frozen. Next time I going to try it with all fresh spinach. Giada also has a very good manicotti recipe. My kids prefer this one because it has no meat. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was great! Everyone loved it. I use the sauce recipe all the time as my home-made go to recipe - I would recommend it to everyone item not reviewed by moderator and published
This dish is so easy and tasty that I make a double batch and freeze it for several meals. There are only 2 of us so it goes a long way. It looks beautiful in the baking dish so is just right for company as well as family meals. Thanks Food Network. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family loves this meal and they ask for it every week. I put the ricotta mixture in a baggie and snip one corner off and use it to fill the shells. So easy!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delish! My husband & I both loved it. We froze the leftovers so that we could eat it again in the near future. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I loved this recipe. It is now in my standard rotation for dinners. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family loved this dish! Great alternative to lasagna. I have tried cooking some ground turkey and adding that to the sauce before sticking in the oven, but without meat is just as good! If novice chef - this is for you. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm always looking for meatless meals and this one was excellent. I used frozen kale instead of spinach and it was very tasty. I also made my own marinara, and used 4 cups instead of 3. Use a plastic ziploc bag with the tip cut off for easy stuffing of the manicotti. item not reviewed by moderator and published
sooo good, i made this for my boyfriend and brother and they loved it. I used fresh spinage(instead of frozen), well worth it to blanch it because it gave great flavor and was easy! Will definetly be making again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was really good! I used large shells instead of manicotti and premade pasta sauce. This is also a great recipe for kids to help. They helped mix the filling and fill the large shells. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is perfect. All of the ingredients are easy to find and even a monkey could make this as long as he could read. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was a great simple recipe! My family loved it. I had been in search for a good manicotti recipe for a little while, and had tried many other recipes by Giada, Emeril, etc... But this simple easy recipe hit the spot. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is an easy recipe to make. The instructions are great to follow. The end result is totally yummy!! Who could ask for anything else. item not reviewed by moderator and published
An easy, and very fulfilling recipe that will ensure any picky eater will have his spinach and eat it too! Very cheesy and delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a good basic recipe, and the filling is delicious. However, to save time I have a few shortcuts. First, I don't cook the noodles ahead of time. Instead, I use a prepared sauce (Classico Tomato and Basil is great) and add a can of diced tomatoes with liquid and a bit of water. The noodles cook while the dish is baking. The pasta tubes are easier to stuff when they are uncooked. Another trick is to put the filling into a freezer bag, cut off the corner, and pipe the filling into the shells. No mess! item not reviewed by moderator and published
  item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Lipton Bright Bites