This manicotti has all the irresistible flavors that make for a stuff-your-face Sunday night dinner. Marinara, lots of garlic and a creamy mozzy topping. 

Serves
6-8

Preparation

20min

Cooking

40min

Skill level

Easy
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To get this dish done as quickly as possible, boil the water first and make the ricotta while you’re waiting. Have a sheet of parchment paper ready to rest the drained pasta on so it doesn’t stick together after cooking.

You will need a pastry bag and a large piping tip to neatly get the ricotta into the manicotti. However, if you don’t have one (and want to get a little messy), use a teaspoon to spoon the ricotta into the pasta, then use your finger to push it all the way in.

Ingredients

  • 225 g (8 oz) manicotti
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade (get Isa's recipe here)
  • 1 recipe Melty Mozzy (optional, see Note)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (20 g) chopped fresh basil, for garnish

Ricotta

  • 800 g (28 oz) blocks extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (35 g) nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 280 g (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Take the frozen spinach out of the freezer the day before making the manicotti. 

1. Make the ricotta: Use your hands to mash the tofu into a ricotta-like consistency. You can’t really overmash it, so just go until it’s nice and mushy with a bit of curdlike texture left. Using a spoon or fork, mix in the salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix in clumps of the spinach, tearing apart any big pieces, until well combined. Taste and adjust salt and seasoning.

2. Place the ricotta in a piping bag with a wide tip, or a large freezer bag with a 12 mm (½ in) hole cut out of one corner.

3. In the meantime, boil the manicotti in a large pot of salted water according to package directions, being careful not to overcook it. Drain the pasta and, as soon as it’s cool enough to touch, spread it out on the prepared piece of parchment to cool a bit more (see headnote).

4. Preheat the oven to 195°C (375°F). Lightly spray a 23 cm x 33 cm (9 in by 13 in) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray (or lightly grease it with a bit of olive oil). Coat the bottom of the pan with 3 cups (720 ml) of the marinara.

5. Fill each manicotti with ricotta, usually a scant ¼ cup (60 g). Line the stuffed noodles up in the casserole dish so they are lightly touching. Top with the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) sauce, leaving the stuffed ends of the pasta exposed. Drizzle the Melty Mozzy over the top, if desired. Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil.

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then serve topped with fresh black pepper and basil.

 

Notes

• Thaw the spinach at least 24 hours in advance and squeeze out excess moisture before using.

• If you don’t want to use Melty Mozzy for whatever reason, sprinkle the stuffed pasta with breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil before baking. 

 

Recipe and image from I Can Cook Vegan by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Abrams, hb, $45)