We’ve put together a recipe for three cheese manicotti that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This dish is made with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses to create an ooey-gooey classic Italian pasta dish. You can make the marinara sauce in advance or use store-bought sauce for a quick and easy dinner.
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 a better way than working with a teaspoon. I put my filling in a plastic bag, clip off the corner and squish the filling into the manicotti shells.
What is Manicotti?
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.
Manicotti is made by stuffing pasta tubes with cheese and meat or vegetables. The tube is then covered in tomato sauce and baked until the noodles are cooked through. This recipe for manicotti is made with ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh basil.
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.
Here is the ingredient list, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card for the amounts.
- Manicotti pasta tubes. This recipe uses store-bought, dried manicotti. Check the package when you buy them and make sure the pasta tubes are not broken.
- Ricotta cheese. If you can’t find ricotta, you can substitute with cottage cheese in a pinch.
- Mozzarella cheese.
- Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan will have a lot more flavor that the stuff sold in cans in the middle isles of the stores.
- Salt and pepper.
- Nutmeg. For the best flavor, buy whole nutmeg and grate it with a microplane. Freshly grated nutmeg is astonishingly better than the pre-ground nutmeg.
- Marinara sauce. As mentioned above, you can make your own or go the easy route and grab a jar of sauce at the store.
How to Make Manicotti
This is an easy recipe, the most difficult part is filling the manicotti tubes but we have an easy technique. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for all the details.
- Boil the manicotti tubes.
- Mix the ingredients for the filling.
- Spoon the filling into a piping bag or a large resealable food storage bag then snip the corner off.
- Use the piping bag to squeeze the filling into the manicotti pasta tubes.
- Spread a bit of marinara sauce into a baking dish then place the manicotti in the dish. Top with the rest of the marinara sauce.
- Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake until hot and bubbly.
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- 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
- 3 cups marinara sauce (two 15 ounce jars)
- 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, garlic, 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.
- Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce into the baking dish (it will be a thin layer). Arrange the filled tubes into the prepared baking dish. Pour the rest of 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 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 506Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 720mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.