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Ricotta and Cottage Cheese-Stuffed Spinach-Artichoke Manicotti Recipe

It's a comfort dish you don't ever have to feel bad about indulging in.
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There are a thousand ways to stuff a piece of pasta—from three-cheese ravioli to a meaty, saucy tower of lasagna—but the one common denominator is a deluge of calories and an abundance of sodium. To deliver the creature comforts of red-sauce Italian food, we keep the cheesy stuffing, but to make it something you can feel good about eating in this manicotti recipe: We use low-fat ricotta and cottage cheese cut with plenty of sautéed spinach and artichoke hearts. You won't lose out on taste with this meal, just on calories. Dig in!

Nutrition: 450 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated), 810 mg sodium

Serves 4

You'll Need

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (6oz) marinated artichoke hearts
1 bag (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 small onion, minced
1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
12 manicotti tubes
1⁄2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1⁄4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
1⁄2 cup shredded mozzarella

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Add one-third of the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until soft and light brown.
  4. Add the artichoke hearts and spinach.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are warmed through.
  6. Drain any water that collects in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  9. Add the remaining garlic, the onions, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes, until the onion is soft.
  10. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. While the sauce simmers, cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling water for about 7 minutes, until soft but short of al dente. Drain.
  13. Combine the artichoke-spinach mixture with the ricotta, cottage cheese, and parmesan.
  14. Use a small spoon to carefully stuff each manicotti with the cheese mixture.
  15. Spoon half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking dish.
  16. Top with the manicotti, then cover with the remaining sauce.
  17. Sprinkle the mozzarella all over.
  18. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.

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