Manicotti - A Simple Yet Incredible Entree

This is one my favorite recipes that has been in my recipe book and made in my home countless times over the last 8 years. I originally saw the recipe on Food Network and have made my own adjustments, you can follow the link below to view the fully original recipe. This dish is also one of my mom's favorites. Every time she comes to visit this is always on the menu and she still get's excited every time I let her know it's what we are having for dinner or supper as she calls it =).

Who knew a vegetarian dish could be so good? I actually prefer this over lasagna. I usually serve it along with Parmesan or lemon chicken (so there goes vegetarian =) and a side of steamed brocolli, but if you aren't up to preparing a big meal this manicotti is filling enough to be a meal on it's own. This is cheesey, flavorful, generously filled pasta drenched in a simple yet incredible marinara sauce. Basically it's comfort food at it's best. To sum it up, it's simple, satisfying and a family favorite.

Note: the photo posted above is a half batch, prebaked and not fully covered in sauce (so you could see what the manicotti actually looks like). I often do a half batch for my small family. Sometimes I will do the full batch and freeze some. You could even do two half batches in two 8x8 pans and freeze one and immediately bake the other. For the frozen one thaw it overnight then bake in a cool (not preheated) oven at 350 for 55 minutes.

Once you add all the sauce it should look more like this...

yum yum, all that saucay goodness =)

Three Cheese Manicotti

Yields about 14 Manicotti


1 (8 oz) pkg Manicotti noodles

1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese (I've used both whole or part skim, either works)

1 lb freshly grated Mozzerella Cheese (about 4 cups)

3 oz finely, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Recipe Marinara Sauce, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package and drain. In the meantime prepare Manicotti filling, in a large mixing bowl, using a fork blend together Ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley and pepper. Stir in grated Mozzerella and Parmesan cheese and mix until well blended. Divide cheese mixture evenly among the 14 manicotti noodles stuffing each one full (I just do this using clean hands, I hold one hand over the bottom opening of the manicotti noodle, then press cheese mixture into the noodle and slightly pack it in until the cheese mixture fills to opposite end). Align noodles in a single layer in a 13x9 baking dish. Pour marinara sauce evenly over filled manicotti noodles. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Marinara Sauce:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (28 oz) cans crushed Roma tomatos (I prefer Contadina brand)

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, simmer 20 minutes (I do this while preparing the manicotti filling and pasta).

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Food Network

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