This tasty Manicotti recipe is relatively easy to prepare. The final product is gooey and warm and totally worth getting your hands dirty!
I especially love ricotta cheese, so it is one of my all-time favorites.
Double or triple this recipe and you have a great and easy dish that can be prepared ahead of time for any larger gathering.
Just cook it almost to the end, and then finish it up as guests arrive. Perfetto!
If you really want something special, make the pasta from scratch too.
Fill a large pot with water and allow to boil. When it's ready, toss in the manicotti and allow to cook until JUST BEFORE they are al dente. (If you're buying store bought shells, directions on how to do this should be printed on the side...otherwise just subtract 2 minutes from the cooking time, or pull one out and see for yourself!)
When they are ready, immediately remove them from heat and drain them.
While the manicotti are cooking you can prepare the stuffing. Mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, and 1/4 cup of romano. Add the parsley, garlic powder and about a tsp each of salt and pepper. Spoon in the olive oil and mix well. At this point you can taste-test the mixture to see if you'd like more salt added to it. Now it's time to assemble! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a medium-sized glass baking dish by spooning in about 2 cups of sauce, spreading it evenly over the bottom. Reserve the rest of your sauce for later.
Once the pasta has cooled a little bit, begin stuffing each shell with the ricotta mixture. Using your hands is best, so don't be afraid to get dirty! Be gentle with the pasta, because sometimes the shells do split (especially if they are over-cooked). Lay each stuffed shell in the bottom of the baking dish.
When all the shells are stuffed and ready, pour an additional cup of sauce over them, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover with foil. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the top of the cheese begins to brown and the sauce is bubbling.
Congratulations! The Manicotti recipe is complete and all there is left to do is eat! So MANGIA already!