March 9, 2011

Arugula & Pea Manicotti with Toasted Pine Nuts for a Rainy Day {Naptime Everyday}

Manicotti

What’s Going on Today: Rainy day errands, laundry, general feelings of need to commence spring cleaning are beginning to emerge.

Naptime Goals: Make manicotti to bake for dinner, finish laundry, consider cleaning closet?

Tonight’s Menu: Arugula & Pea Manicotti with Toasted Pine Nuts, Green Salad, White Wine.

More Great Rainy Day Baked Pastas: Orecchiette with Pancetta & Three Cheeses, Crunchy Mac&Cheese with Bacon, Stuffed Shells with Homemade Ricotta, Eggplant Parmigiana

In my house rainy days and baked pasta go hand in hand. I love to whip up a warm, creamy dish during naptime and serve it up, all hot and bubbly, for dinner. Manicotti is one of those dishes that fits perfectly into this scenario. I usually approach it like my favorite lasagna, stuffing it with a nutmeg scented ricotta and topping it with homemade marinara. But on this particular rainy day I in the mood to try something different, a little risky even.

As I scavenged my fridge I discovered a large bunch of arugula that was looking a little tired, and a large block of fontina I had intended to use on pizza but never did. I also mined nice bags of frozen peas and pine nuts from the freezer drawer and pulled them out. Surveying these wares I began to envision my favorite pasta shells stuffed with a ricotta filling that was greened up with arugula and peas and baked in a creamy fontina sauce. I would top it all with a smattering of pine nuts for extra flavor and crunch.

As my daughter slept I set to work assembling the dish. Despite the long looking ingredients list it was a quite a simple task. The arugula is quickly sauteed in a skillet, then the ricotta filling is assembled in one bowl and scooped straight into the pasta shells. The sauce stirred up on the stovetop and poured over the shells which are then topped with pine nuts. After a quick 30 minutes everything was assembled and cooling in the fridge for dinner.

Recipe

Arugula & Pea Manicotti with Toasted Pine Nuts

Ingredients

12 Manicotti shells
8 ounces arugula
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
15 ounces ricotta cheese
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup mozzarella, coarsely shredded
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg

For the Sauce:

1 cup whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
3 cups fontina cheese, coarsely grated
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup pine nuts

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. Cook the pasta according to directions in salted water. Drain and set aside.

3. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and cook the onion until it is soft and translucent. Then add the arugula and stir it into the onion until it is just wilted. About 1 minute.

4. Remove the arugula to the bowl of a food processor and add the ricotta, peas, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Process the mixture until it is smooth.

5. Scoop the mixture into the cooked pasta shells and nestle the filled shells into a 13×9 baking dish.

6. To make the sauce, bring the milk and cream to a simmer and add the fontina cheese. Stir it continuously until the liquid and smooth and creamy and the cheese is completely melted. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the prepared pasta. Sprinkle the pasta with the Parmesan cheese and top with the pine nuts.

7. Bake the pasta for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce is hot and bubbly.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This delicious meal is quite creamy and only needs a light accompaniment. If you make it during naptime, keep the dish covered in the refrigerator until it is ready to bake.

Naptime Stopwatch

30 minutes prep time, 30 minutes cook time

Naptime Reviews

This tasty pasta was a hit with the whole house. My daughter said they looked like “long ravioli!”

  • Amanda

    That looks so light and marvelous!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Amanda!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427480279 Sarah Pinneo

    Interesting! I have to admit I’ve never cooked arugula. I wonder how the flavor changes? I’ll bet spinach would work fine too.

    • Anonymous

      Spinach would work, I might have used that as if I had had it on hand!

  • http://www.brooklynsupper.net Elizabeth

    This looks so light and tasty–the perfect springtime dish. Looking forward to giving your recipe a try.

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