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Manicotti - total time 40 minutes

My husband thinks that the reason Mexican restaurants are able to get you your food so quickly is because everything on the menu is a variation of the same thing.  Pick your shell (tortilla for burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, hard shell for tacos, chalupas, and salads), pick your meat/veggies, and pick your sauce (cheese, red, verde) then wrap it up and serve with some rice and beans.  Seems like it should be the same for Italian restaurants... pick the type of noodle, cheese or meat, and type of sauce... done... but it never comes out quite that fast.

I used to think manicotti was the superior Italian entree until I started making it myself and realized manicotti is just stuffed shells in tubular form.  Still delicious!

manicotti noodles
1 cup ricotta
.5 cup mozzarella
1 cup spinach, shredded
1 egg
.25 cup parm, shredded
1.5 cup marinara sauce
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil noodles according to package.  Run cool water over noodles to stop them from cooking.
2.  Combine ricotta, spinach, egg, salt, and pepper in small mixing bowl.  Fill noodles with cheese mixture either by pipping, spooning, or by hand.
3.  Spread about a quarter cup of sauce over bottom of a casserole dish.  Place manicotti in dish, top with remaining sauce, and sprinkle parm on top.  Bake for 30 minutes.


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