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BackstoryManicotti has a long tubular shape optimal for stuffing with a myriad of different mixtures.
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) ground beef
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 pieces of manicotti pasta (from one 8-ounce box)
- 1 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce (see below for recipe)
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
- Heat a medium-size, heavy skillet over a medium flame. Add the ground beef and onion and saute until the meat brown and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside.
- Brush 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over a large baking sheet. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the manicotti and cook until softened but still firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the prepared baking sheet and let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 & 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture, and arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining cup of sauce over the manicotti. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the manicotti. Dot the top with the butter pieces. (The manicotti can be prepared up to this point 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
- Bake the manicotti uncovered until it is heated through and the sauce bubbles on the bottom of the dish, about 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand for 5 minutes and serve.
- ** I have also put 1cup freash Mushrooms in with the ground beef and cheese mixture. It turned out really good.