Manicotti is an Italian American pasta dish that is usually stuffed with ricotta cheese, spinach, and sometimes veal. My family is not a fan of veal or spinach, so I made the manicotti with beef and cheese and they love it! I hope you do to.
This recipe takes a little bit of effort and makes a mess, but it is so worth the effort to make it and clean up afterwards. This is one of our favorite dinners, paired with a Caesar salad and garlic bread and it’s the perfect pasta meal. As I said, manicotti is usually filled with ricotta cheese and spinach, or sometimes veal is added to the cheese. We substitute ground beef in place of the veal and it tastes great.
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 package manicotti (8 oz. 14 count)
- 1 package whole milk ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 2 TBSP butter, cut into pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- In large skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to onion and ground beef. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute beef until meat is brown and onions are translucent. Remove from heat and cool.
- Cook manicotti shells in large pot of boiling water until softened but still firm, approximately 4-6 minutes. Transfer shells from boiling water to a baking sheet brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, to cool.
- In large mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Stir cooled meat mixture into cheeses.
- Using remaining olive oil, cover bottom of 9x13x2 glass baking dish. Spoon 1.5 cups marina or spaghetti sauce over the bottom of a the baking dish. Fill manicotti shells with meat and cheese mixture. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over stuffed pasta. Dot with pieces of butter.
- Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until sauce bubbles, and manicotti is heated through.
- Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes before serving.
This is one of my family’s favorite dinners. Using store-bought pasta sauce does help cut down on the time, and the mess. When I made it, I used our favorite jar spaghetti sauce, but you could make your own if you wanted to. Also, if you like your pasta dishes extra cheesy, you can always sprinkle more cheese on top before baking the manicotti. We love extra cheesy pasta dishes, and as far as I’m concerned you can not have too much cheese.
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