For Day 3 of BM, I made this hearty and comforting baked pasta dish. Turning on the oven makes the kitchen nice and toasty -- perfect for chilly winter nights, so you know where I spend most of my time in winters ;-). This is a stuffed pasta dish with creamy Swiss chard and ricotta filling smothered in spicy tomato sauce and topped with lots of cheese -- great to please a crowd.
Stuffing traditional manicotti/ canneloni pasta can be tricky since cooked pasta tubes are very delicate and have a tendency to tear. So to make life easy I used no-boil lasagna noodles, an idea borrowed from Cook's Country magazine. Filling recipe is adapted from Giada's Swiss Chard & Pea Manicotti. Here's how I made it.
No-boil Lasagna noodles - 12
Mozzarella cheese - 1 1/2 cups
For the filling:
Swiss chard - 1 bunch, chopped
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
Red chili flakes - 1/2 tsp
Ricotta cheese - 1 1/2 cups
Mozzarella cheese - 3/4 cup
Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup
Peas - 1 cup, thawed if frozen
Salt - to taste
For the Tomato sauce:
Store bought pasta/ marinara sauce - 2 cups (I like Bertolli brand marinara sauce)
Red chili flakes - 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)
- First make the filling: Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a saute pan; add onion and saute for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Next add red chili flakes, garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Finally add the swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- In a food processor; place ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, peas and process until combined. Add the chard mixture and salt and process until smooth. Keep aside.
- Tomato Sauce: Heat the marinara sauce with red chili flakes to make it slightly spicy until heated through. Keep aside.
- Prepare the Noodles: Pour boiling water into a baking pan and soak the noodles until pliable, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stuffing the Noodles: Place the lasagna noodle with short side facing you; put about 2tbsp of filling in the middle and roll it up.
- Assemble the dish: Ladle a spoonful of pasta sauce at the bottom of lightly greased baking dish. Place the filled roll, seam side down in the baking dish. Continue with rest of the noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on the top.
- Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly.