Spend some time in the kitchen with the whole family and put together this delicate yet comforting Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Cheese Manicotti recipe. The kids will have a blast stuffing the shells (although if they are anything like mine, prepare for some mess)!
Cooking As a Family: You Can Do It!
It's no secret that we love cooking as a family around here. It doesn't happen as often as we would like, because hey, life get's busy and Daddy works a lot! But when we do we make something together we make something a little bit more involved than usual, and then we sit down and enjoy it as a family.
It makes for really lovely quality time outside of the usual movie and pizza night. I bet you will be surprised at how freely the conversation and laughter flows once everyone lets loose.
For us, it all started on the first New Year's Day my husband and I spent together a million years ago. We decided to make wonton soup from scratch - including the dumplings and the dumpling wrappers.
That was a big undertaking for someone like me, who had never even tried wonton soup before 😛 but it started an enduring tradition that we really cherish.
And one that we will try to keep going for as long as possible.
For the most part I like to make my own tomato sauce from scratch, and I usually have a couple batches of this Tomato Sauce in the freezer ready and waiting. BUT if you can find a good quality jar of tomato sauce, and you are more likely to get into the kitchen and cooking as a family if you can skip that step, then you go for it!
How Do I Get The Kids Involved?
My kids love helping in the kitchen, and with this spinach and cheese manicotti recipe I get them to help by:
- mixing all the ingredients together for the stuffing,
- using a small spoon to stuff the shells,
- arranging the stuffed shells in the pan,
- pouring over the tomato sauce at the very end.
Now that my daughter is big enough to hold a whole glass jar, bless her cotton socks, her favorite part is the big pour. She worked on those 'muscles' for a long time to gain the honor 🙂
Happy Eating xx
Spinach Mushroom and Ricotta Cheese Manicotti
- 1 box Manicotti shells
- 1 Jar Ragu Homestyle Sauce (or homemade)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups baby portobello mushrooms, chopped (4 cups chopped, not whole)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 cup pecorino cheese, grated and divided into two
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. If you are using fresh pasta, it does not need to be pre-cooked
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes aromatic, but has not browned. Add in the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned
- Add in the baby spinach and cook until wilted. This should only take a minute or two.
- Mix the ricotta with the chopped parsley and thyme. Once the mushrooms are browned add them to the ricotta mixture, along with half of the pecorino. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine
- Stuff the manicotti tubes with the mushroom and ricotta mixture (see notes for a tip)
- In the same skillet you used for cooking the mushrooms, add half of the Ragu Homestyle Sauce.
- Arrange the manicotti on top of the sauce, and then top that with the remaining sauce and the rest of the pecorino.
- Cover with aluminium foil and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy