Pasta has to be the ultimate comfort food. And if pasta isn’t, then cheese is, and this three cheese manicotti recipe has plenty of both. I’ve been wanting to try manicotti for a while now- I guess I was worried about cracking the delicate noodles. But as it turned out, this was a really easy recipe to make from mixing up the cheese filling, to stuffing them with a ziplock bag. Manicotti is an American-Italian dish with so many ways to prepare, like ground beef, sausage, and spinach, but any combination you dream up will be tasty. This one in particular is filled with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and lots of dried herbs. Amazing flavors, easy to prep, and VERY family-friendly.
Thanks Brittany, for sharing one of my new fav Italian dishes!
Boil pasta according to package directions, adding plenty of salt to the cooking water so the noodles don’t stick together. Stir them very slowly so they don’t tear. Gently strain the noodles and transfer to a baking sheet or cutting board to cool. You can also place them back in the plastic tray they came in to help hold their shape.
While shells are cooling, add the ricotta, Parmesan, 2 cups of mozzarella, egg, and the seasonings into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Stir until combined and creamy. Transfer the mixture into a ziplock bag for easy piping.
Spray a baking pan with non stick spray. Spread a thin layer of your favorite marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan. Cut a corner off the bottom of the Ziplock bag and squeeze the cheese mixture into the empty shells. I had no trouble filling the shells this way, and I am certainly not a piping expert! But you can always fill halfway from each side of the shell until the cheese meets in the middle. Just be sure and tightly pack each noodle, or they’ll collapse in the oven while baking. Toss the bag when it’s empty- easy clean up!
Place each filled shell in the pan. Make sure the shells touch because they expand quite a bit while cooking.
Coat the top of the shells with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. I like to add a bit more Parmesan as well- the cheesier the better!
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to lightly crisp up the cheese. Let cool for a couple of minutes before serving with fresh parsley.