Spinach Manicotti

Working during the day can put a real strain on fixing dinner. I am fortunate enough that Patrick (I think) enjoys deciding on the recipe and then picking up the ingredients. Patrick and I first made this dinner last Valentine's Day so it was special to revisit this recipe! Unfortunately I didn't get around to blogging it last winter. This recipe is from my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook.

Spinach Manicotti -- a fun & yummy recipe

8 dried manicotti shells
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups milk
3 ounces Swiss cheese
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 egg, beaten
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (Patrick forgot the lemon this time)

1. Cook manicotti according to package directions; drain. Rinse pasta with cold water; drain. Cool pasta in a single layer on greased foil.

2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan cook green onion and garlic in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add Swiss cheese and broth, stirring until cheese melts. If you've got extra hands in the kitchen it's easy to split up steps 2 and 3. I prepped step 2 while Patrick prepped 3! Then we merged to stuff the shells.

Green onion and garlic in hot butter.
After adding the milk and flour. Once the cheese and broth is added it looks about the same so I didn't include another photo!
3. For filling, in a medium bowl stir together egg, spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and lemon peel. Use a small spoon to fill manicotti shells with spinach mixture. Arrange filled shells in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour sauce over filled shells.
Patrick has a very large collection of whisks. For filling begin by whisking egg.

Thaw / defrost spinach and then squeeze out all the excess moisture! Add to egg and ricotta cheese.

Now stuff!
Pour cheese sauce over the manicotti and then bake!

4. Bake, covered, in a 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. As I'm blogging now I realized Patrick and I overlooked the "covered" part so we didn't do this and it turned out fine.

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