Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Manicotti – delicious Italian pasta shells stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach filling! Italian style pasta that’s easy to make at home.
What is manicotti?
Manicotti are very large past shells of tubular shape, with ridges on the outside. Tubular pasta is hollow through the center, forming a tube. Manicotti shells are usually stuffed with various fillings, such as ricotta cheese, cooked spinach, ground meat.
I’ve always looked at those large pasta shells (manicotti) on store shelves with great longing, vividly imagining that stuffing any kind of cheese or vegetables into that large tube-like shape would undeniably result in something very delicious, pretty-looking and very Italian.
Besides, my husband had a very nice Italian wine which we were anxious to pair with a good traditional Italian pasta dish. The stars seemed to be aligned for me to finally tackle the recipe for stuffed manicotti pasta shells. I decided to go the traditional route and stuff the shells with spinach and ricotta cheese filling, accompanied by a red tomato sauce.
This spinach stuffed manicotti recipe is SO good, and the garlicky tomato sauce goes SO well with the ricotta, Parmesan, and spinach stuffed into these very large pasta shells. Did I forget to say that it is a very easy recipe? Please enjoy!
How to make ricotta cheese and spinach filling
- First, in a large skillet on stove top, cook spinach in a small amount of olive oil until wilted. Drain all liquids. Chop cooked spinach.
- In a medium pan, mix together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and cooked spinach. Season with salt to taste.
How to stuff manicotti pasta shells
- Cook Manicotti pasta shells according to instructions, usually by boiling for 10 minutes. Drain, cool briefly and immediately fill pasta shells with ricotta cheese and spinach filling.
- Don’t let the cooked manicotti shells sit unfilled for too long, because they will flatten, lose their shape and when you try to fill them, they will break.
- Fill the pasta shells immediately after you have cooked the manicotti, drained them and briefly cooled them.
- After you stuffed the manicotti shells, set them aside and keep them warm.
Other pasta recipes
- Tomato Spinach Chicken Spaghetti
- Parmesan Zucchini Chicken Tomato Pasta
- Chicken Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms
Spinach and ricotta cheese manicotti are surprisingly easy to make and taste so comforting! These traditional Italian style manicotti pasta shells are stuffed with the delicious Ricotta Cheese and Spinach Filling and smothered in a garlic tomato sauce.
- 9 Manicotti pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz spinach
- 1 cup Parmesan shredded
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 5 garlic cloves chopped
- 28 oz whole plum tomatoes (from the can)
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (to serve)
Cook spinach in 1 tablespoon olive oil until wilted. Drain of all juices, and chop spinach.
In a medium pan, mix together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and cooked spinach from step 1. Salt to taste.
Cook Manicotti pasta shells according to instructions, usually by boiling for 10 minutes. Drain, cool briefly and immediately fill pasta shells with ricotta cheese and spinach filling. Don’t let the shells sit out unfilled for too long, because they will flatten, lose their shape and when you try to fill them, they will break. Start filling the shells immediately after draining them and briefly cooling. Set aside and keep them warm in a warm drawer.
Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, garlic and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil and wine and cook on low heat, covered, for about 40 minutes. Place the sauce in food processor and process until puree consistency. Return the sauce to the same pan, re-heat gently and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour a small amount of tomato sauce in the middle of the individual plate. Place 2 or 3 spinach stuffed manicotti pasta shells on top of the sauce in middle of the plate, then pour more sauce on top and around pasta shells. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and cracked fresh pepper on top of red sauce.