Friday, July 27, 2012

A Light and Meatless Manicotti





From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When my children were in high school they were heavily involved in activities and team sports that made the counting of fat grams and calories unnecessary. Pasta, in various forms, appeared frequently on my table, and manicotti was a special favorite. The version I used was made with crepes and covered with a lovely tomato sauce that simmered for hours on the back burner of the stove. It was delicious, but because it was labor intensive and undeniably fattening for those of us who do not regularly run 5 minute miles, it disappeared from my table as the house began to empty. My oldest daughter, whose kitchen these days is a happening place, re-introduced us to manicotti last week. Her version is lean and mean and about as figure friendly as pasta can get. She found the recipe in Cooking Light magazine several years ago and it has since become a standard on her menu roster. Her decision to make it concerned me a bit. I had visions of a very late dinner as she began to stuff the tubes for the small army that was waiting for dinner that evening. I never should have doubted her. Proving, yet again, that the apple does not fall far from the tree, she pulled  a pastry bag from her luggage. It had been packed expressly for this  purpose, and she had the tubes filled in less than 15 minutes. Dinner was served on time and I must say it was delicious. I hope you will give this pasta a try. Its flavor belies the low-fat products with which it is made and because the imanicotti is not cooked before stuffing, this version is a huge time and step saver. I know that those of you who try it will be really pleased with this figure friendly and easy to assemble pasta. Here's the recipe.

Meatless Manicotti...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cooking Light

Ingredients:

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided use
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
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 cup water

Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2) Combine 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, spinach, Parmesan cheese, oregano and salt and pepper  in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti.
3) Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into 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. Yield: 7 servings.








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17 comments:

Chiara Giglio said...

Look perfect Mary, I love it ! Have a good weekend, blessings...

Hovkonditorn said...

I love this already! Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!

Angie's Recipes said...

A delightful meal! I would love it too.

anne said...

Meatless you say ?! Who needs meat if you have all those cheeses in that scrumptious pasta dish ?! I'm just drooling at the the thought of those 3 kinds of cheese in there ! lol

Red Nomad OZ said...

Fantastic! I take back all the evil thoughts I had that low fat = tastless and dull!!!

StephenC said...

If nothing else you have gotten me to thinking about how I don't really need meat every day. It is a habit, however, of decades in practice. Is this old dog capable of a new trick?

Kim Garceau said...

Love this cheesy recipe, it loos sooooo good!

Dining Alone said...

I love lighter versions of classic dishes, this looks so good! Have a wonderful weekend!

Ellen B Cookery said...

I try to keep Fridays meatless. This is an excellent recipe to add to my Friday menus.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I love this recipe... but, even more, I love the story of you and your daughter... indeed, this apple has spouted her own tree... as the seeds go forth to flower and bear fruit of their own... blessings ~ tanna

David said...

Mary, Your meatless Manicotti looks great...but being a dedicated carnivore, I'd miss the beef or sausage too much. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

From the Kitchen said...

We aren't doing any strenuous activities around here these days--especially with the heat. Well, that's an excuse for me. The Baker and the dalmatian take two two-mile walks a day. I'll just put a little more of this delicious-sounding recipe on his plate (The Baker's, not the dal's). Thanks to your daughter and you.

Best,
Bonnie

Kit @ i-lostinausten said...

So yummy! Drooling just by looking at these pictures!

Alessandra said...

Very nice Mary, and perfect for me :)

Ciao and have a great weekend

Alessandra

tender b. said...

Light and Meatless is my kind of manicotti.

Joanne said...

My dad makes manicotti at Christmas that is heavy and made with creeps but this lighter version is more ideal for everyday consumption!

Roz said...

Manicotti is right up there as one of the all-time best Italian comfort foods! Oh yum, I do need to print this off right now and prepare it soon! Thanks for sharing Mary!

Mangia!!!

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