Stuffed Pasta (Manicotti)

Panda came over for dinner the other night, and I wanted to make something tasty for him.

Albany John has been asking that I make spinach pasta the next time I make pasta. I figured this was a good time to try it out, and decided to forgo the usual pasta noodles for something a little out of my comfort zone. Stuffed manicotti.

Okay, well, technically these aren’t manicotti since they aren’t perfect circular tubes, but I’ve been seeing people say they’re easier to make with lasagna sheets because then they don’t break. So that’s pretty much what I did. Rolled pasta, cut it, wrapped it.

Here’s the pasta dough. I love how speckled the color of the dough is with spinach. So cute.

Here is how I made the pasta:

Spinach Pasta
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained as much as possible (10 oz of squeeze-dried spinach is akin to a large handful)
3 medium eggs
½ t salt
2 C AP Flour

Process the spinach, eggs, and salt until well combined. I used my magic bullet. Way less mess than hauling out the food processor.

Put flour in a bowl and make a well. Stir in the flour with the spinach mixture, and once it is too stiff to mix, use your hands and knead it for about 5 minutes. Everything should be cohesive, but the dough shouldn’t be too sticky or dry.

Let dough rest 20-30 minutes, then cut up into quarters to roll out in pasta machine.

Rolled spinach out to a level 5, and then cut up into rectangles and boiled for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Just to firm up the dough and make it a little more pliable to stuff and roll.

Spinach pasta is a little more delicate than regular pasta, in that the spinach content makes the dough less stretchy. But it possesses a very pleasing toothsome bite in the end.

I used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, ½ a can of tomato paste, a bit of water, 1 onion, garlic, and some herbs to make a quickie marinara sauce. I only let it cook for about half an hour. I think a jarred pasta sauce would be fine in this instance as well. I’ve been on a diced tomato kick lately, so as you can see, that’s what I used.

I had some leftover butternut squash filling I’d defrosted earlier and combined with some more ricotta (it was too garlicky for me, and it helped stretch the filling to load the entire pan with manicotti).

I just put a little bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan, then put a sheet of semi-cooked spinach pasta in it, filled it up and rolled it. It made me think of enchiladas. When I was finished rolling I slathered the rest of the marinara all over the lot of them.
One of the best things about rolling these manicotti is that even if there is a little break or tear in the sheet of pasta, you can probably roll it to hide it.

I covered the pan and cooked it for 40 minutes in the oven, then sprinkled the top with a little bit of cheese bits that were left in the fridge and let it cook 10 more minutes.

And ta-da: stuffed pasta. We all really enjoyed this. Is pasta stuffed with ricotta ever a bad thing? The thick spinach pasta noodle had a nice chew to it that went well with the soft ricotta filling. I probably could have flavored up the filling some more.

This has also held up very well in the fridge for leftovers. Not too gummy or anything – the pasta is really retaining its firmness.

Estimated cost of this dish:
$0.99 spinach
$1.20 marinara sauce
$2.00 flour, eggs, cheeses


I think I want to play around with using this spinach pasta dough for making some kind of Italian-Mexican enchilada-like thing. I really love enchiladas.

4 thoughts on “Stuffed Pasta (Manicotti)”

  1. wow. great off-the-cuff recipe, and for such little expense! i, too, love the color and flavor of spinach pasta (though i've never made my own) and your layers are just perfect.

  2. I grew up in Brooklyn and my favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant made manicotti with crepes. Since I moved up state I haven't seen anyone else do it like that and I miss it.

    Yours looks good though. I love butternut squash.

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