Manicotti is large pasta shell stuffed with meat and cheese and covered with tomato sauce. It's been a favorite in my family for years.
I'm not a big meat eater so I cut out the meat, add some more cheese and spices, and smother the whole thing with spaghetti sauce (tomato sauce is a little plain for my taste). Believe me, your whole family will love it!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Serves: Makes 12 filled manicotti shells
- package of manicotti pasta (I like Barilla)
- 15 -16 oz ricotta cheese
- 6 oz & 2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1/3 cup italian bread crumbs
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp garlic
- 2 cups (1 jar) spaghetti sauce ( I like Prego Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1. Boil noodles for 4 minutes (ignore package directions!!)
- 2. Use a pair of tongs to remove each noodle, taking care not to rip it. I just set them back in the original plastic container to cool.
- 3. In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, 6 oz mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, and garlic. Mix well.
- 4. Now you can preheat the oven to 350.
- 5. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
- 6. Spread about 2/3-1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of dish.
- 7. Fill each manicotti shell with cheese mixture and place in dish.
- 8. Add about 1/2 cup of water to your marinara sauce and mix it up (I just shake the jar).
- 9. Cover the filled shells with the sauce.
- 10. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.
- 11. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
This is what it should look like just before going in the oven.
My little tip:
The easiest way to fill the shells without tearing them is to only cook them halfway. Adding water to the sauce will let them cook the rest of the way while baking. Since my cheese mixture is a bit thick, I fill them using my fingers. This way I can also make sure to stuff them as much as possible! If you don't stuff them enough, they'll fall flat when the cheese melts while baking.
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