Last night I was in the mood for some savory Italian flavors, so I broke out the ricotta and the manicotti shells and got to work. This manicotti is not as cheesy as most recipes – I was in the mood for something that was cheesy and good but also made me feel good afterwards! If you like, you can substitute the zucchini for mozzarella cheese and an extra whipped egg to make this manicotti very cheesy, if so, bake for 35 minutes. In any event, this was a delicious mixture of beans, artichokes, tomatoes, garlic, and cheese – plenty tasty for me!
Serves 4 – 5.
- 1 cup cooked cannelini or white beans or one can of precooked beans
- 1 tomato, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup artichokes, chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, copped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg
- one package of manicotti shells (12 – 14)
- 1 1/2 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
- salt and black pepper
- grated Parmesan for serving
If you are using dried beans, cover beans in water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and boil until soft.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Add onions, celery, zucchini, and garlic to a skillet with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables have begun to lose their water and become translucent. Combine the vegetables (trying to omit their liquid) with the ricotta, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, and oregano. Temper in the egg, then taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Precook the manicotti shells in the boiling water until they are al dente, according to package directions. Drain, then fill each shell with the ricotta mixture. This may be easier if you use a wide fitted pastry bag or a large plastic bag (freezer or gallon sized) with the tip of the bag cut off, filling with the cheese and pushing it out into shells. Oil a large baking dish, then layer in the filled shells.
Combine drained beans, parsley, artichokes, and diced tomato. Add a pinch of salt and a few shake of black pepper. Spoon this mixture over the shells. Then top with the marinara sauce, evenly spread.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until you are satisfied with how hot the dish is or how much the egg has set. Top with parmesan cheese and serve!