Four Cheese Manicotti with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

That being said, I am done with making gifts.   No more Gifts from the Kitchen until the next holiday season although I have a huge file of ideas for next year, especially from Liv LifeThe Kitchen Witchgiver’slog,  and My Catholic Kitchen—I can’t wait to make Veronica’s Apple Pie Moonshine for gifts.

I did want to make a gift for my husband though and make a homemade meal.

Surprise, surprise!  With all the rushing around, holiday parties and events, family functions, etc., I have not really cooked a meal in what seems like a very long time.

And, I wanted to use one of my Christmas presents! 

I am sure this is meant as a chip 'n dip serving ensemble, but I needed a somewhat festive centerpiece.

I was also inspired by the last Secret Recipe Club post by Mele Cotte and her adaptation of Four Cheese Stuffed Shells by Cooking with Moxie.   This recipe looked delicious.   Honestly, my intent was to make it verbatim, but the grocery store did not have any jumbo shells.   I saw the manicotti and decided to adapt.  (Imagine that?)  I also wanted to try out a non-cook method for the pasta.

Four Cheese Manicotti with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1 ¾ c. ricotta cheese (Try homemade.).
2 c. grated  mozzarella (Again, try homemade.)
1/4 c.  grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/8 c. grated Asiago cheese
1 t. granulated garlic
1 farm fresh egg, beaten
3.5 oz. dried tomatoes, chopped
1 c. fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 T. minced flat-leaf parsley
2 T. chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 c. homemade tomato sauce
1/2 c. red wine (whatever you are drinking at the time)
1 c. boiling water
1 pkg. (8 oz.) manicotti

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, mozzarella, 1/8 c. Parmesan, Asiago, garlic, and egg.   Stir until fairly smooth.

Next time I hope to have some of our own spinach from the hoop house.

Stir in dried tomatoes, spinach, parsley and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Whoops! As I am typing this post, it dawned on me that I forgot the salt and pepper. Doh!

Use one 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish (or a fancy dish like mine and a smaller single serving dish).

Stir together tomato sauce, red wine, and boiling water.

Spread a layer of sauce on bottom of pan.    Start filling uncooked pasta and arrange each stuffed tube in a single layer on the sauce.   Pour remaining sauce over pasta.   Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 c. Parmesan.

This recipe made enough to fill my new dish plus just enough for a single-serving size for freezing.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.   Remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer.

Check out the size of this Giant Italian Parsley! I actually still have some alive in a concrete pot that is up against the house. The basil, however, came from the green house.

I love this new dish.   It is from Celebrating Home and my friend who gifted me with this is a representative/designer.   She says this stoneware stays warm forever.   This is the first thing I have cooked in it, but it also looks like a great lasagna and enchilada pan.  And, luckily, it cleans up easy!

I placed this on another baking sheet to catch any "boil-overs." I was glad I did.

As for the no-boil pasta.   If you like your pasta al dente then you will like this recipe.   If you like a softer pasta, then I would suggest you cook your pasta according to the directions on the box and then stuff it.

Hubby did like his Gift from the Kitchen and said I could make this again.   And we did like another gift from another friend:   new festive wine glasses and some wine to go in them!To keep up to date with Eliot’s Eats, please subscribe below:


Note:   By the way, this is actually better as leftovers!

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