Hottie Tottie Manicotti or Lasagna
From The Substitute Yourself Skinny Cookbook
I was skeptical that a dish with a reduction of close to 700 calories, would actually taste great. Although I didn’t find specifically low fat pasta sauce and used a low fat fontina cheese instead of mozzarella (which might have more calories), the dish was awesome and even if I ONLY saved 500 calories per serving…that’s impressive and so good, I’ll be making it often.
Hands on time: 5-10 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes (or until bubbly around the edges and the cheese is golden and melted on top)
1 box manicotti shells (250g/8oz) Ruth’s note: I bought ready made, fresh whole wheat lasagna sheets to make my own and discovered I cut them too small to roll around the filling, so it ended up a very delicious lasagna. I’m sure stuffed giant pasta shells would work too. My first choice is oven ready pasta.)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (this time I used Fontana)
1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
1 cup non fat cottage cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped (I used ¼ cup)
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (28oz/795ml) jar meatless low fat pasta sauce (Ruth’s note: couldn’t find any that specifically said “low fat”)
Non stick cooking spray
1. Ruth’s note: If you are not using oven-ready pasta, cook them according to the package directions and drain. They should be a bit under done so they won’t fall apart when stuffing. Remember they will continue to cook in the oven.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses. Mix well and add the herbs salt & pepper. Mix to blend and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and prepare the large oven proof baking dish. Spray with a little nonstick spray and a thin layer of sauce (about ½ cup).
4. Fill the shells with cheese mixture. Ruth’s note: I like to use flat lasagna sheets, cut so that they will form a tube once the filling is placed in the middle and will pasta ends will slightly overlap. I place them seam side down in the baking dish. This time, however I cut the sheets too small and decided to turn the dish into lasagna. It would also work beautifully with jumbo pasta shells.
5. Once the dish is filled with stuffed manicotti, or shells, or layers of pasta, cheese, pasta, cheese, pasta, top with the remaining tomato sauce. Add any remaining cheese over top and cover with foil.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sauce bubbles around the edges and the top layer of cheese is melted and golden.
7. Ruth’s note: Remove from the oven and let it rest, uncovered on the counter/table for 5 minutes. This will let the dish “set” and still be hot.