Manicotti is a traditional Italian dish that has become a favorite among foodies worldwide. This delicious pasta dish is made by stuffing tube-shaped pasta with a mixture of cheese and meat, and then baking it in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. It’s a perfect meal for a special occasion or a weekend dinner with the family.
- 10 manicotti shells, boil extra in case some break
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
- 5 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 2 eggs
- 3 cloves garlic
- 24 oz. marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375°.
Reserve 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese for the top of the manicotti.
Combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, remaining mozzarella, cream cheese, eggs, and seasonings in a large bowl. Set aside in the fridge.
Boil shells in salted water for 1-2 minutes less than al dente, set a timer to avoid overcooking them. Drain in a colander and gently rinse with cold water until the shells are cool. Set aside.
Spread half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
Use a spoon or a piping bag to fill each manicotti shell, letting a little extend over the top. Transfer the filled shells to the casserole dish.
Top with remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10 more minutes.
If desired, broil at 425° for 1 minute, watch it carefully during this time.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with Garlic Bread with Cheese!
➔ Pro tips:
- To make the filling easier to stuff into the manicotti tubes, use a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off.
- Don’t overcook the pasta as it will become too soft and difficult to stuff.
- If you want to add more flavor to the dish, you can use Italian sausage instead of ground beef.
- Add some chopped spinach to the cheese and meat mixture for a healthier and more nutritious dish.
If you have any leftover manicotti, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place it in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
➔ Make-Ahead Method:
You can make the manicotti ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. To make ahead, stuff the manicotti tubes with the cheese and meat mixture and place them in a baking dish. Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
➔ Nutrition Facts:
One serving of manicotti (1 tube) contains approximately 300 calories, 16g of fat, 23g of carbohydrates, and 16g of protein. It’s a high-calorie dish due to the cheese and meat filling, so it’s best enjoyed in moderation. However, it’s a great source of protein, calcium, and iron, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal.
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