I made this last night for dinner. It was very good, but a little time-consuming. If you're in a hurry, use a good jarred marinara sauce.
1 container ricotta
1 cup parmesean, grated (Use good parmigiano reggiano)
1/2-1 Cup cooked, chopped spinach, w/ all liquid squeezed out
1/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper
grated lemon rind, from about 1/2 lemon
Mix all ingredients except egg together and taste. Correct seasonings--it should be highly flavored. Mix in egg.
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cans chopped tomatoes, pureed
1/2 can tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 tbl fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Saute onion & garlic w/ a sprinkle of salt in oil until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Let cook until thick. Add fresh basil. Taste & add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Preheat oven to 350
1 pck manicotti, cooked and drained
1/2 cup parmesean, grated
Fill each manicotti and place in a greased baking dish. Top with marinara sauce & more parmesean. Bake, covered for 30 minutes, remove top & bake 10 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.