My friend Jackie shared this Amazing Manicotti Recipe with me back when we were both new brides. She was going to Cosmetology School and also worked at a grocery store as a checker. A woman who came through her line gave her this recipe. It was like a treasure to us Utah/Idaho girls who loved to cook and who had very little experience with authentic Italian food.
The woman told Jackie that no matter what she had to use Olive Oil in the recipe and to ”not even make it if you weren’t going to use olive oil.” I don’t know about Jackie, but I had to go out and buy some, I had never even owned a bottle of Olive Oil before. My mom never used it and I had no idea the magic it offered the world of food.
Looking back now, it totally cracks me up to think how foreign it felt to cook with olive oil. So glad I was introduced to it, my life is so much better with Olive Oil in it.
After living in New Jersey and being exposed to so many delicious authentic Italian recipes (like this Amazing Sausage and Pepper’s recipe) I can say with confidence that this manicotti is the real deal! So authentic! When you feed it to people they’re going to think you’re hiding a little Italian grandmother somewhere.
After making this, way back when, I started using the same filling recipe when I make lasagna or stuffed shells. It’s such a perfect texture and the flavor is perfect with the cheeses blended together. The sugar surprised me when I originally made it, but it really pulls it all together.
This recipe has three steps so it’s a little more intense then most of the recipes I post. But…..they are easy steps and trust me when I say it’s so worth it. I usually bust these out about 2-3 times a year. They’re perfect to make for company or when friends come to dinner, and sometimes I make them on Valentine’s Day. ALthough I have been known to make them on a regular Thursday or Tuesday every now and then.
One batch of this recipe makes 10-12 stuffed manicotti noodles. I usually double this recipe and when we have company I usually triple it. The leftovers, as is true with most Italian food, are even better the next day.
How to Make the Manicotti:
First, start heating water to boil your noodles since that takes a while to get going. While that is heating start your sauce. The sauce needs to simmer for 30 minutes so the sooner you get it going the better.
Once your water comes to a boil, boil the shells to Al Dente. This takes 5-8 minutes depending on the brand, just follow the instructions on the back of the box for Al Dente. Drain the noodles and sit them on a plate or flat dish where they aren’t overlapping. This will help them not stick together and tear.
Mix the filling. Pour half of the sauce on the bottom of the pan you plan to bake the noodles in. Fill the noodles (I do this by using a small spoon to push as much in from each side as I can. It’s a bit messy and I’m sure there is a better way, but that’s how I do it. 🙂
Place the filled noodles in the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce over the noodles. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Take noodles out and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for five minutes. And Enjoy!
The entire dish is so well rounded, from the sauce to the Al Dente shells, to the perfect filling. It is a treat for the taste buds to be sure!
I hope you love and treasure this Amazing Manicotti Recipe as much as Jackie and I do. It’s truly a keeper!
- 10-12 manicotti noodles cooked al dente according to package directions
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 6 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 large cloves garlic, finely minced or put through press
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 (15 ounce cans) diced tomatoes
- 2 (8 ounce cans) tomato sauce
- ½ tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp salt
- dash of pepper
- FOR THE FILLING
- 15 ounce container Ricotta Cheese
- ¼ pound Mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- More Parmesean Cheese for topping
- Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and saute the onion, garlic and parsley until garlic is golden and onion in transparent. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes until sauce is nicely thickened.
- Make the cheese filling by combining the ricotta cheese, grated mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, dried parsley, sugar, salt and pepper.
- When sauce is done simmering, pour half of the sauce in the bottom of the dish you plan to bake the manicotti in.
- Fill each al dente noodle with filling. I use a spoon to put some in each side of the noodle and do my best to get it evenly distributed in the noodle.
- Place each noodle in the baking dish on top of the sauce you poured in.
- When each noodle is placed pour the remaining sauce over the noodles.
- Cover pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
- Remove foil sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes.
- Serve an Enjoy!
Have you tried these yet?