Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto Veggie Manicotti topped with Fire Roasted Marinara

I've mentioned it on here before that I am not a huge fan of meat in my pasta. I am, however, a huge fan of pesto and veggies in my pasta. I saw this dish on foodgawker and it was screaming my name, especially since I had just made some pesto last week. It uses a fresh fire roasted marinara sauce, which is another one of those "why didn't I do this sooner" types of pantry items.

  • 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 box of manicotti noodles (1/2 box of large shells works too!)
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup of grated carrots
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan/romano cheese
  • 2-4 tbsp of pesto (adjust intensity to suit your tastes!)
  • mozzarella cheese for topping (go lean or go cheesy!)
  • to taste: black pepper, salt, parsley, oregano, thyme & garlic powder.
  • 16 oz fire roasted marinara, or your favorite red sauce (recipe to follow)
Preheat your oven to 350. Gently boil shells for approx 11min or until tender/al dente. Drain & arrange cooked noodles in a glass baking dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Fun fact: if you roll the noodles in the red sauce it will help prevent them from sticking/wilting! Dice and sauté, onions and garlic together with shredded carrots and 1/2 tsp of olive oil. In a large bowl, fold ricotta, parm/romano cheeses, pesto, and torn spinach together with all your herbs and spices. Next, add your veggies to the mix. You are free to use your fingers, but putting the stuffing in a bag with a hole cut in the corner and squeezing is muuuch easier =) Stuff the noodles gently and pour a generous pile of sauce on top. Top with sliced or grated mozzarella/parm cheese and bake for approx 20-30 minutes at 350F

Fire Roasted Pasta Sauce:

  • Need:
  • 28 oz can diced/crushed tomatoes
    14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
    approx 4 oz of tomato paste (controls the thickness)
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried basil
    1-2 tsp dried parsley
    3 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes and blend for just a few seconds, until tomatoes look more crushed than diced. Pour tomatoes into your crockpot, season, and walk away! Set crockpot to low if you'll be leaving the house and high if you'll be around the house. No crock pot? Simply add to a sauce pot and cook at low to medium-low on the stove-top.

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