Mmmmm — It’s a Winner!


Manicotti

So, I have been trying to come up with new ways to make delightfully delicious vegetarian dishes; something that not only I will like, but something that my carnivorous boyfriend would also enjoy. Well, I just finished whipping up the most delicious manicotti dish ever! We’re not huge pasta fans, but I like the fact that with manicotti, the pasta is just being used as a shell to house the real stuff! Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will love this!

Shannon’s Veggie & Tofu Manicotti

10 – 12 manicotti shells
10 oz. package frozen spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (I limit onion because I’m not a huge fan!)
8 oz. package of mushrooms, sliced
14 oz. box extra firm tofu (I use Azumaya)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. chopped basil
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 c. alfredo sauce
2 – 3 c. prepared spaghetti sauce
Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
pine nuts, to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta shells according to the package directions (9 or so minutes.) Meanwhile, put frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high about 5 minutes (rotating once); let it cool (be careful, some parts will be super hot!) In a non-stick skillet with a lid, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute onion for 3-5 minutes, until brown on edges. Reduce heat to low and stir in garlic and mushrooms. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. While the mushroom-onion mix is simmering, place tofu in a mixing bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over tofu and mash with a fork (or your hands!), crumbling tofu into small curds so that they resemble ricotta cheese. In a separate bowl, mix up eggs; mix them into the tofu mixture. While the tofu settles, squeeze all the excess water out of the spinach, if you haven’t done so already. Once mushrooms have finished sauteing for 10 minutes, add in the tofu, spinach, olives, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Add in 1/2 c. to 1 c. of Alfredo sauce to taste. Simmer over low heat another 10 minutes. (Note: Snag a taste of the filling at this point and add salt or sauce to taste — if the flavor is lacking, the dish won’t be nearly as good!) Preheat oven to 375. Spread thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 12×8″ baking dish. Spoon vegetable-tofu filling into the shells VERY GENTLY — the shells have a tendency to break, so be careful (if they do break, don’t fret; you can easily camouflage them and your guests won’t know the difference). Arrange in tight rows on top of the sauce and cover with spaghetti sauce and thin layer of Alfredo. Sprinkle with Parmesan, to your liking. Cover and bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle shells with pine nuts and broil for 3 – 5 minutes. Serve warm.

——

The filling makes a load! I had a lot left over, but it is so good, I could eat it on it’s own! My boyfriend couldn’t even tell it was tofu and not ricotta. Like I mentioned, I’m not a huge pasta fan, but this gets me really pumped for the Italian leg of my journey in the coming year! If you’re digging the vegetarian Italian dishes, check out this website for other delicious veg recipes from other folks around the world!

Enjoy!
Signature Stamp - Shannon

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