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Published: Sunday, 6/6/2010

Recipe: Spinach Manicotti


1/2 package manicotti shells (7 pieces, or 4 ounces)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced onion

2 cups firmly packed baby spinach leaves

1 clove garlic

8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1 cup prepared tomato-based pasta sauce of choice

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Cook the manicotti shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, spinach, and garlic. Stir and toss until the spinach wilts, about two minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach mixture, ricotta cheese, and egg. Mix well. Scrape the cheese mixture into a quart-size zip-top plastic bag.

Cut one corner off the bag to make a small diagonal slit. Using the bag like a pastry bag, squirt the cheese mixture into both sides of each manicotti shell until filled. Repeat with each shell.

Place the filled shells into prepared casserole dish. Top with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Bake 10 minutes or until heated through and beginning to bubble along edges.

Yield: 3 generous servings.

Approximate values per shell: 181 calories (39 percent from fat), 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 45 mg cholesterol, 10 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 263 mg sodium.

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