Ah…Manicotti! Those little pasta tubes that are filled with delicious cheeses and herbs and smothered with marinara sauce Such goodness!
I have had this box of manicotti pasta in my cupboard for at least six months and today is the day to do it! When our kids were growing up I would sometimes make this for dinner and I remember how I struggled getting the filling into those little tubes. Now I have discovered a better way than working with a teaspoon. I put my filling in a zip top plastic bag and mash it to the corner, clip off the corner and squish the filling in.
This recipe for manicotti is made with ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese and lots of fresh basil. Manicotti is an American-Italian dish and there are so many ways to prepare it, including ground beef, sausage and spinach but any combination you can dream up will be tasty.
I have seen recipes that include a white béchamel sauce on top and baked but I prefer the marinara sauce and if I am in the mood I will make a batch of tomato-garlic sauce. I confess, today I used a jar of good marinara sauce from the grocery store.
- 14 pieces (8 ounces) manicotti pasta tubes
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Grease or spray with non-stick an oven-proof 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- In a large bowl add the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together briefly, then add them to the cheese mixture and gently combine.
- Spoon the cheese mixture into a closable plastic bag, pushing it to the corner. Snip a small piece of the bag corner off with the scissors and carefully fill each pasta tube. Arrange the filled tubes into the prepared baking dish in two rows. Pour the marinara sauce over the top of the filled pasta.
- In another small dish combine the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top of the marinara sauce. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.