Four Cheese Spinach Manicotti

I love pasta. It’s so carby and delicious. One of my absolute favorites is manicotti. Manicotti are  just big empty pasta tubes that you fill up with good stuff. Imagine the possibilities! I can think of a hundred delicious things to stuff inside of pasta!

This time around I went with four cheeses, because cheese is my friend. I also added some spinach, because it’s still January and therefore I’m pretending to be healthy. If you wait to make this until February, feel free to leave the spinach out. I won’t judge you.

Honestly, though, spinach is kinda good. My kids even eat it! Especially when it’s covered in cheese and hidden inside of pasta.

I used a homemade marinara here, but feel free to use jarred sauce if you’re feeling lazy, just be sure to use a good one. The spinach and cheese is creamy and mild flavored, so you’ll want a good burst of flavor in your sauce.

Four Cheese Spinach Manicotti


    For the manicotti:
  • 8 ounces of Manicotti
  • 16 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 6 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 ounces Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped fresh baby Spinach, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Basic Marinara Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Half of a medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 - 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
  • dash of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


    For the manicotti:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the manicotti and cook for 7 minutes. Drain.
  2. Set aside the pasta to cool and begin making the filling.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the Ricotta cheese, 3 ounces of Mozzarella, 3 ounces of Monterey Jack, and all of the Parmigiana-Reggiano. Mix in the sour cream, bread crumbs, and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the pasta is cool enough to handle, use a small spoon to scoop the filling into the pasta. You can also pipe it in, but I find a spoon is the easiest and quickest way for me. If you break any of the noodles, just fill them anyway and roll them back up.
  5. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. Arrange your pasta in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining marinara sauce (you don't have to use all of the sauce if you like things less saucy.) Top with the remaining cheese and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to browned on top.
  6. For the sauce:
  7. Dice the onion and garlic very fine (or process it until it forms a paste in a food processor, if you're family is anything like mine and dies at the sight of an onion).
  8. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

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15 Responses to “Four Cheese Spinach Manicotti”

  1. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) January 14, 2011 @ 10:33 am (#

    Mmm, I love italian dishes! And the spinach wouldn’t bug me one bit!


  2. Allison @ Novice Life January 14, 2011 @ 11:09 am (#

    Yum! This looks delicious! I miss marinara dishes! As soon as I am no longer suffering from Prego Heartburn, this is on my list to make 😉


  3. Gina January 14, 2011 @ 11:43 am (#

    Karly…this could be one of your finest moments! It looks like it has “Gina” written all over it. I will be stuffing shells..and my mouth..this weekend.


  4. Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) January 14, 2011 @ 11:59 am (#

    I’m so hungry right now, but this manicotti would look delicious even if I was full!


  5. Joanne January 14, 2011 @ 12:22 pm (#

    I’m okay with anything that involves mixing four cheeses together than eating them. And the lovely carbaliciousness of this is just an added bonus.


  6. Cheri January 15, 2011 @ 11:09 am (#

    You read my mind! I just made some stuffed cannelloni last night because I was having a major craving for a stuffed pasta bake. This is going next on my list for when the next craving hits! Looks sooo delicious.


  7. a-man January 16, 2011 @ 5:47 pm (#

    The pasta looks yummy. Is there any european alternative for the monterey jack? Don’t know where to get that cheese in Germany.


  8. grace January 17, 2011 @ 4:31 pm (#

    when there’re so many layers of ooey-gooey, salty, savory cheese, it’s okay to sneak some spinach in there. delicious work, karly. :)


  9. valerie January 18, 2011 @ 10:06 am (#

    Wow, this looks amazing. Your pictures are wonderful! Happy Tuesday!


  10. Michelle January 18, 2011 @ 1:59 pm (#

    This is definitely a comfort meal in my book. Delicious.


  11. Margaret January 21, 2011 @ 1:45 pm (#

    WELL!!!! Since I also love pasta and have spinach growing in the garden I cannot think of any reason NOT to make this. Except … Shoot, there is not except!!!!


  12. ashley January 21, 2011 @ 8:14 pm (#

    Why have I never made these? Holy yum they look good! Cheese and spinach in pasta- yes please!


  13. Lynda@Me and My Pink Mixer January 26, 2011 @ 9:41 am (#

    I haven’t made these forever ~ thanks for the reminder. I’m on a spinach kick lately, so love the spinach addition. I’m even drinking daily spinach and banana smoothies – yum!!
    Putting this on my menu for later this week :)


  14. Courtney @ The Cozy Home February 20, 2011 @ 5:41 pm (#

    Umm… yes please! This sounds like a perfect dinner to try this week!


  15. Emma June 3, 2011 @ 5:44 pm (#

    Such an amazing dish! I was craving a heavy dish for tonight and this turned out divine! I used fresh baby spinach we had cooked down earlier in the week and had leftovers of. We substituted mascarpone for ricotta since we have some picky eaters. Still turned out lovely! Great recipe!


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