Spinach, Crab, and Cheese Manicotti

Manicotti is the name given to the shape of the pasta, which means little tubes, that are just begging to be stuffed with deliciousness. Here I decided on the traditional spinach and ricotta cheese stuffing and of course being one that loves seafood, I through in some crab meat as well. 

The fresh basil chiffonade went well with the marinara sauce

Topped with crab-meat

Ingredients:

1 box Manicotti

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium shallot, chopped

12 ounces fresh mushrooms chopped. I used white and oyster…save a few for topping

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup Parmigiano Regianno–divided

4 ounces cream cheese

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

4 fresh basil and parsley leaves

12 ounces fresh spinach or 1 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 11 ounce cans crab-meat. Preferably I would have used lump, but only had fancy crab-meat on hand

1 26 ounce jar of marinara sauce (or make fresh)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pam spray

Fresh cracked black pepper and salt to your liking

Proceed: 

Cook the manicotti per package instructions. Pre-heat the oven at 350.  Heat the olive oil in a pan over moderate heat and saute the onion and shallots until the onions are opaque. Add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes more, then add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes.  In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan cheeses with the sautéed onion mixture, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the chopped spinach and the crab meat and mix well. Fill each cooked manicotti with a generous amount of the mixture with either a small spoon, or a piping bag (one can be improvised by snipping the tip of a zip-top freezer bag).

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with Pam. Spread some of the sauce in the pan and place the filled manicotti in the pan. Top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, top with sliced mushrooms and the rest of the crab meat. Cover the pan with foil and bake at for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and parsley.

Some of our ingredients

Onions and shallots in the pan

Addition of the garlic

In go the chopped mushrooms, and 1/2 of the crab meat

Now we’ll mix the sautéed onion mixture with the ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and cinnamon, pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper

The spinach has been steamed, then drained–dried as much as possible and chopped

Mix in the chopped spinach, 1/2 of the crab meat.  Pipe or spoon into the manicotti

Give a 9 x 13 inch baking dish a little spray of Pam, and spread some of the marinara sauce on the bottom

Arrange the filled manicotti in the dish, drizzle on the remaining marinara sauce, top with the rest of the mozzarella & Parmesan cheese and arrange the rest of the sliced mushrooms and crab-meat on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Spinach, Crab, and Cheese Manicotti

And without the crab for my youngest son–with fresh parsley and finely grated Parmesan cheese

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