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Zucchini Manicotti

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* 1 pound zucchini, about 2 large, or 3 medium
* 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
* Kosher salt
* Coarse ground pepper
* 1 small onion
* 8 oz baby spinach, kale or swiss chard, large stems removed and chopped into small ribbons, or 225 grams
* 1/4 tsp nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
* 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
* 1/2 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup torn or shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
* 2 tbsp basil or parsley, chopped for finishing
Marinara Sauce, can be made in advance
* 1 small onion, finely diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and broken up (optional)
* 1 tsp Italian seasoning
* 1 tsp basil
* 1/2 tsp oregano
* 1 tbsp butter
* 1 tbsp tomato paste
* 1 1/2 cups tomato purée or sauce



1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Marinara Sauce

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, add the onion and cook to start softening. After 4 minutes or so, add the garlic. Sauté, stirring till everything is almost translucent.

2. Add the sausage if using and cook till browned, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon into small bits. Once browned and most of the fat is gone continue with the next step.

3. Season everything with the Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, butter and tomato paste, stirring to completely blend.

4. Add the tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. This can be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge till needed.


5. If you have made the marinara sauce in advance and stored it in the fridge, bring it to room temperature.

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