I had never had lasagna or manicotti in any restaurant. The first I had those was when I made them at home. If there is some lunch meeting then mostly it would be pizza or lasagna for him. The first time he had the vegetable lasagna in their office, he liked it so much. I thought why not try them at home? The main reason I wanted to make them at home so that I could use all low fat versions of the cheeses and use healthy veggies. It came out really well and we both enjoyed every bite of it. Then I wanted to try the manicotti recipes also. I like manicotti better than lasagna because of its looks:) So here is the very simple and healthier version of my favourite recipe.
6 Manicotti shells
1 tbsp extra light olive oil
1 cup chopped veggies(I used broccoli, zucchini and carrots, you can use mushrooms also)
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 cups store bought marinara sauce
1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp red chilli flakes
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cook the Manicotti as per the instructions given on the back of your packet. I just cook them for 7 mins and rinse them in cool water. Set this aside.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 2 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the veggies, salt and 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes; continue cooking. When the vegetables turn soft and tender remove them from stove and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, parsley, cottage cheese and the remaining red chilli flakes. Stir in the vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.
Spread 1 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish. Fill Manicotti with the veggie mixture; place in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over filled shells; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 5 mins or until the cheese is melted.
You can substitute chopped fresh/frozen spinach instead of the veggies.
Since this is one of the Italian recipes we love that is so easy to make. I am sending this to the "WYF cuisine event" hosted by Simple Indian Food blog.