This delicious stuffed Manicotti recipe is made by rolling a delicious cheese filling inside a noodle and topped with an easy homemade red sauce. This meal is quick to make, and is always a family favorite!
Why I love this recipe:
- Method: Instead of buying thin manicotti shells from the store, this genius method uses no-boil lasagna noodles, giving the dish a more authentic taste and better noodle to cheese ratio. Plus, it’s much easier to roll-up the filling, then to try and “stuff” it inside manicotti shells.
- EASY Homemade Red Sauce that tastes amazing and balances all the flavors in this dish perfectly!
- Cheese Filling is fresh tasting with three different types of cheese and fresh chopped herbs. It is delicious and makes this dish really shine!
How to make Manicotti:
Make my easy homemade marinara sauce that uses basic pantry ingredients and is ready in about 15 minutes! The taste is incomparable to store-bought (but I wont judge if you’re in a pinch and need to use the jarred stuff).
Prepare Cheese Filling by combining ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Add eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
Assemble Manicotti: Add very hot water to a casserole dish. Soak the oven-ready barilla pasta in the hot water until it’s pliable. Lay each noodle on a flat surface and scoop about ¼ cup of cheese filling onto the short end of the pasta, closest to you. Roll the filling tightly in the noodle and place seam-side down on top of the sauce in the casserole dish.
Bake: Pour the rest of the sauce over the noodles, being sure to completely cover the pasta. Bake manicotti for about 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake again for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted.
Manicotti vs Cannelloni:
Cannelloni is a classic Italian dish that is very similar to manicotti. Both are made by stuffing a large tube of pasta with filling, covering it in sauce, and baking it. Manicotti is the Italian American version, and the pasta used is just slightly different.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: This baked Manicotti can be prepped and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake for up to 3 days!
To Freeze: Prepare Manicotti pasta up until the baking step then cover with a sheet of parchment paper, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 day before baking. To bake, remove parchment, replace with new aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 ¼ hours.
- Manicotti with Meat: You can cook 1 pound of ground beef or sausage and add it to the red sauce if you’d like.
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- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley , chopped (or 2 ½ teaspoons dried parsley)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves , chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Make the sauce. My easy homemade marinara uses basic pantry ingredients and is ready in about 15 minutes! The taste is incomparable to store-bought (but I wont judge if you're in a pinch and need to use the jarred stuff).
- Cheese Filling: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
- Prepare noodles: Pour 1 inch boiling water into a large casserole dish . Add dry noodles, a few at a time, allowing them to soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. Use a fork to help separate the noodles if needed, to prevent them from sticking together. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on a plate.
- Assemble: Spread bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish evenly with 1 ½ cups red sauce. Place one pliable noodle in front of you and scoop ab out ¼ cup cheese mixture in a line along the bottom short end. Roll all the way up into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish).
- Bake: Pour remaining red sauce over the filled pasta. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until bubbly. Remove cover and sprinkle on remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
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I originally shared this recipe October 2018. Updated March 2022.
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