Swiss Chard and Ricotta Manicotti
8 dried manicotti shells
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 large Italian plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut into wedges
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Prepare manicotti shells according to package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Drain well in a colander, being careful to not tear the shells. Set aside.
Discard the stems of the chard. Stack several leaves and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Repeat with remaining chard leaves.
In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in chard and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until chard is wilted and liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Then stir in remaining filling ingredients.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In food processor or blender, combine all sauce ingredients and process for about 20 seconds (you want it slightly chunky, not smooth). Pour 1 cup sauce into prepared baking dish, spreading to cover bottom.
Gently spoon about 1/4 cup filling mixture into each manicotti shell, being careful to not tear the shell. Place in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 additional minutes, or until heated through.
Editor’s Note: Take care to not overcook the manicotti shells. To make sure they don’t get too soft and split, start checking them about 2 minutes before the package directions say they should be ready.