I have been making this Vodka Sauce Spinach Manicotti for about 14 years now. It is actually the meal I served my parents and sister when they met Zo for the first time, so it is pretty special to us! Over the last 14 years the only thing about this recipe to really drastically change is the sauce. Up till about 7 years ago I use to use a store bought vodka sauce. After making my own Vodka sauces I realized that the extra time is well worth it! Though you can find some real tasty store bought sauces out there. Now and then I will play around with the cheeses and go with more traditional choices than cheddar but I and Zo agree, it might not be as traditional as a light flavored chesses but cheddar sure taste better! I hope you enjoy!
1 package of Manicotti pasta
1 1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach (defrosted, strained)
1 15 oz container ricotta (whole or skim milk)
8 oz fresh mozzarella (shredded)
1/3 cup raw maple smoked cheddar (or sharp cheddar, shredded)
1/3 cup pepper or jalapeno Jack (shredded)
1 cup red onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (diced)
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
kosher salt (to taste)
red pepper flakes (to taste)
fresh crack pepper medley (to taste)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sweet European butter
3 tbsp Parmesan reggiano (finely grated)
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/2 of a making of Francis's Vodka Cream Sauce (or use a store bought sauce)
Follow the directions of the linked post to make my Vodka cream sauce (or use a store bought sauce.)
Cook manicotti shells according to directions on package and strain.
In a small saucepan heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once heated caramelize onions for 10-15 minutes, add garlic and cook until golden 5-7 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl mix all ingredients together. Stuff manicotti shells with filling, cover in sauce and bake as instructed on package (usually 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.)
Sprinkle fresh Parmesan reggiano over the top with Italian parsley garnish and serve hot. Enjoy!