Roll Up Manicotti and Spinach Strawberry Salad

photo 4 (37)

First and foremost, happy Sukkot everyone! For the record this particular holiday is not my thing, as I am definitely an indoor cat.


Anyways, this week we have an extensive set of instructions for our 2 dishes so let’s get right to the notes.


Please, dear readers, let your pasta cool before you handle it. This should not be how you check the temperature of your noodles. Let them cool for at least 10 solid minutes.

photo 2 (38)

This is how you have to fill your pasta, as per the instructions in step 8. From this point, it’s super easy to roll up the noodles.

photo 4 (36)

Yes, my OCD definitely kicked in a bit here, probably making this most upsetting moment of the entire cooking process for me. My reaction might have been something along these lines;


So if you too are the OCD chef, maybe plan out your manicotti arrangement before you start placing them in the dish and save yourself the aneurysm.

photo 1 (43)

This dressing was super delicious. You really don’t need all of this dressing for the salad, but it’s definitely something you could bottle and save for another salad in the future. Your other option is to do what I did with the extra dressing and stand over it staring at the poppy seeds in the dressing saying “poppppies….poppies will put them to sleep…”


Maybe just stick with eating it.


1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh basil
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp dried curly parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
16 lasagna noodles (supposedly there is a “no-boil pasta”. I have no idea what this is or how to use it. In theory if you find this and know how to use it you can easily skip steps )

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
4. Cook lasagna noodles in pot of boiling water for half the recommended time (for my pasta this was 8 minutes).
5. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, 2 cups (out of the 3) mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
6. Drain noodles and lay flat on a sheet pan to cool.
7. Spread bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce.
8. Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (*see picture for clarification). Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down.
9. Top manicotti evenly with remaining sauce.
10. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes.
11. Remove foil and sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes.
12. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Original –


For the pecans
1/2 a large egg white (OK I know- half an egg white is a silly instruction. However, I also didn’t want to make 4 cups of pecans for 1 salad so deal with it).
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp water
2 cups raw pecan pieces
For the dressing
1 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
5-6 raspberries (just buy the whole pint and have a snack later)
1 tbsp sugar, (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp poppy seeds
For the salad itself
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, use electric mixer to beat the egg white until foamy.
3. Add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and water; mix until well combined.
4. Stir in pecans until all are well coated with the mixture.
5. Pour onto baking sheet and spread out nuts into a single layer.
6. Bake for a total of 25 minutes. Halfway through baking remove the pan and flip nuts over with a spatula. Rearrange pecans into a single layer before returning to oven for last 12(ish) minutes.
7. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper with nuts still on it onto cooling rack.
8. Moving on to the dressing; in a small food processor, add the onion, vinegar, raspberries, sugar, mustard, & salt and mix until combined.
9. With the blender/food processor running, add the oils in a thin stream through the hole in the top. Blend until well mixed.
10. Add poppy seeds and pulse just until mixed, and set aside.
11. In large bowl, toss spinach, strawberries, onion, and cheese.
12. Top with desired amount of dressing and candied pecan pieces just before serving.

Original –


Yeah…..there are a lot of steps here.

Salad 1-7
Manicotti 1-10, meanwhile salad 8-10
Manicotti 11-12, meanwhile salad 11-12