Craving comfort food? Here is a delicious and filling vegetarian manicotti recipe you and the family will LOVE!

Ready for this simply mouthwatering pan of mushroom, spinach and super creamy bechamel stuffed manicotti? I am always ready when this pan of cheesy goodness comes out of the oven. The assembly is super simply with the no-boil pasta shells. You will make this recipe for friends and family all year around it is that comforting and scrumptious! Perfect for Sunday supper or an easy weeknight meal!

Simple and wholesome ingredients for this Mushroom Spinach Manicotti

  • Homemade Bechamel sauce takes 5 minutes it’s like a roux- see recipe box
  • Homemade Tomato sauce easiest fresh marinara sauce
  • Mushrooms gives it delicious earthy taste you won’t miss the meat at all
  • Spinach fresh pop and adds healthy nutrients
  • Onion gets sautéed with mushrooms and spinach to add a mellow sweet undertone
  • Mozarella cheese adds that luxurious cheesy topping
  • Parmigiano cheese classic Italian aged cheese that gives any a dish that final Italian touch!
Creamy mushroom and spinach Manacotti Recipe on a plate one shell fork and knife with bite

What does manicotti mean?

Pronounced, “man-eh-COT-tee”, manacotti, literally means “hand-warmers, muff,” from the word Latin word manicae “long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs. This iconic pasta shape that is basically a large empty tube is excellent for stuffing and baking.

No-boil method manicotti recipe

Should I use no-boil manicotti noodles? Yes! It will save you time and the shells will be much easier to fill with a lot less mess! If you use no boil manicotti noodles it will be easier to stuff the shells since they won’t be soft, hot, and risk sticking together or getting flat. For this recipe I use no-boil noodles and I love the taste just the same!

How do you fill manicotti noodles or pasta shells

  • Option 1 One way to stuff manicotti shells is the put the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Pipe the filling into one end of the noodle, then flip the noodle and fill the other side. This technique will ensure that the entire inside of the noodle is filled.
  • Option 2 Another way to stuff your shells is using a small spoon with a long handle (think baby spoon or old fashion milkshake spoon). Simply take a spoon of the filling with the spoon and fill the manicotti shell half way then flip it to the other side and fill the other side of the shell.
  • Don’t overstuff the noodles. There is just enough filling to fill all 14 of the noodles. If you overstuff them, you may not have enough filling for all of the shells.

What are the best sauces and fillings for manicotti?

I always make my own red sauce or sugo recipe and I use it for many other recipes instead buying the pre made jared variety. As far as the fillings, there are so many delicious options from meat sauce to ricotta and spinach and this creamy bechamel mushroom and spinach recipe!

Sugo al Pomodoro (Classic Italian Tomato Sauce)

Authentic Italian Amatriciana Sauce (try this red sauce with bacon!)

Classic Italian Ragu Recipe (Meat Sauce)

Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna (Vegetarian) (use the filling of this recipe to stuff inside the manicotti)

What is Bechamel Sauce?

Béchamel sauce (besciamella in Italian) has French origin and has become part of Italian culinary tradition for a very long time. … It is a smooth, white sauce made with just 3 ingredients: flour, milk, and butter. If you want to make it the true Italian way, you also add a pinch of nutmeg.

How do you know when your bechamel sauce is done?

Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon. Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready

This is a recipe my mamma taught me years ago. It is so simple and traditional. I know you will love it. This is the key component that sets baked manicotti recipe apart from any other version.

STORING: You can make and store bechamel for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Creamy mushroom and spinach Manacotti Recipe

What is the difference between manicotti and lasagna?

Manicotti is a large tubular pasta shell that is stuffed with fillings, while lasagna is a flat pasta that is layered with fillings. Manicotti are easier to serve since they come out as individual portioned stuffed shells. They are both equally delicious.

Craving lasagna? Try this recipe! Italian Lasagna Bolognese (Lasagne alla Bolognese)

What’s the difference between manicotti and cannelloni?


Manicotti and cannelloni are different noodles that can be filled with the same types of fillings! You can use either for this recipe and you’ll end up with very similar results.


Manicotti noodles are large tubes of pasta that are cut at an angle on each end. Manicotti has ridges on the outside giving them a very distinct texture that lets the sauce nestle into every nook and cranny of the noodle

Cannelloni is traditionally made with thin sheets of fresh pasta that are wrapped around the filling, creating a very similar shape to manicotti, but with a different process. 

The key difference between manicotti and cannelloni noodles is that manicotti has distinct ridges while cannelloni noodles are smooth in texture. Essentially, both large tubular pasta that will taste great when stuffed and slathered in sugo al pomodoro, or Italian tomato sauce.

Manicotti Process 1024x1024, CucinaByElena

This is about half the recipe the full recipe is for 14 manicotti shells.

From my Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Made with Amore, Elena

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Creamy mushroom and spinach Manacotti Recipe on a plate one shell
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0Z4A3940 150x150, CucinaByElena

Creamy Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Manacotti

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Yield: 14 manicotti 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Ready for this simply mouthwatering pan of mushroom, spinach and super creamy bechamel stuffed manitcotti? I am always ready when this pan of cheesy goodness comes out of the oven. The assembly is super simply with the no-boil pasta shells. You will make this recipe for friends and family all year around it is that comforting and scrumptious! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 recipe for my homemade tomato sauce, about 3 cups, you can also use store bought 
  • 1 package no boil manicotti noodles (14 shells) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced 
  • 8 oz mushrooms (variety of choice), diced into small pieces  
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and liquid removed 
  • 1 cup (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese 
  • Salt to taste 

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 6 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour all purpose
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Instructions

  1.  Prepare your tomato sauce and bechamel (white sauce) up to 5 days ahead of time and store in air tight containers in the fridge.The bechamel will become firm and you will need to microwave it for a few minutes to get it back to a creamy consistency. 
  2. Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge): In a medium saucepan on low medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until well combined with butter. Keep whisking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients: milk, nutmeg and salt and whisk everything together. Cook for another 10 minutes and keep whisking as it gets thicker. You will know it is ready when it sticks to the back of the spoon. Turn off heat and set aside.  
  3.  Preheat oven to 350 F
  4.  In a medium skillet heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes. Add spinach cook another 2 minutes until heated through and season with salt. 
  5.  In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 of the bechamel (that you made ahead of time) with the cooked mushroom and spinach mixture. This is your filling. Reserve 1/4 of the bechamel for later. 
  6. Get out your prepared tomato sauce. Spread half the tomato sauce in an even layer in the bottom of a 13″ by 9″ by 2″ (inch) baking dish. Sprinkle half of the grated parmigiano across the tomato sauce. 
  7. Transfer filling to a piping bag (a gallon Ziploc baggy works well too). Cut the tip off your piping bag about the width of the manicotti noodles. You can also fill the shells by using a long spoon. Fill each noodle with filling. Nestle filled manicotti into the baking dish in a single layer. The manicotti may be very close together. Then pour the remaining sauce in an even layer on top of the noodles.
  8. Top manicotti with the remaining bechamel sauce and shredded mozzarella. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for about 50 minutes or until the noodles are just about cooked through. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. 
  9. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grated parmigiano cheese and enjoy!

Keywords: manacotti, pasta, mushrooms, bechamel, spinach, vegetarian, red sauce, stuffed pasta,