Old World Manicotti

Old World Manicotti

I found this recipe in a collection of recipe cards, cookbooks and magazines from my grandma. After she passed away, I got to go through her collection and I found this recipe for Old World Manicotti. I had never made manicotti before, but I thought this recipe seemed pretty straightforward and the ingredients were simple. My toddler and I could eat spaghetti once week if it was up to us. My husband, however, is less enthusiastic about it. I like to cook this manicotti to mix it up every once in a while. It is easy, filling, and any leftovers are always a hit the next day as well. Serve it along with a vegetable of your choice and fresh French bread.

You could substitute your own homemade sauce in place of the store bought sauce if you’d like. If you’re not a fan of a vegetarian meal, you could add in ground beef to the cheese mixture (My husband’s preferred way). I’d recommend browning and then cooling the beef before adding it to the cheese mixture so that it doesn’t melt any of the cheese before you try to stuff it into the pasta shells. That’s a mess no one needs! I cook the pasta shells a little on the al dente side so that they are less likely to tear. I buy whole wheat manicotti shells (when I can find them) to up the nutritional factor a bit. For shopping tips- I buy two boxes of manicotti shells for this recipe. I cook 1.5 boxes and save the other .5 box for the next time I make it. This way I end up with more than the 12 manicotti shells the recipe calls for, but if I tear one, it’s no big deal since I have extras. I stuff the pasta shells using my finger, nothing fancy here.  I’m hoping to can homemade pasta sauce this year and I’d also like to find a day-of, scratch recipe to use instead of a store bought sauce. If anyone has a favorite homemade pasta sauce they like to use, I’d love for you to share it!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cool water. Let pasta dry on paper towels.

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3.For filling, in medium bowl, stir together 3 cups mozzarella with the ricotta and fresh basil. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, carefully stuff pasta shells with prepared cheese mixture.

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The picture above is the vegetarian version. The picture below is with browned, ground beef added into the cheese mixture. Both versions of this manicotti are delicious! The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, but I cut it back to only 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. img_39014. Spoon 2 cups spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

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5. Bake manicotti for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the parmesan; bake for 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Old World Manicotti 

Prep Time: 20 minutes         Cooking Time: 25 minutes        Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 large manicotti shells

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

2 cups ricotta cheese

6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoons dried basil

1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce, divided

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/2 lb ground beef, cooked and cooled (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cool water. Let pasta dry on paper towels.
  3. For filling, in medium bowl, stir together 3 cups mozzarella with the ricotta and fresh basil. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, carefully stuff pasta shells with prepared cheese mixture.
  4. Spoon 2 cups spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  5. Bake manicotti for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the parmesan; bake for 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Grandma’s Tip: Another way to stuff the cooked manicotti is to “pipe” the filing into the pasta. Put the cheese mixture into a heavy-duty Ziplock bag. Seal the bag, cut off one corner, making the cut about the same size as the manicotti opening. Then gently squeeze the bag to fill the pasta with the cheese mixture. I personally like to just use my fingers to gently push the filling into the pasta shells. It’s a good job to give to older kids or willing helpers!


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