March 16, 2010

Manicotti with (or without) Beef


I have always been happy and content to eat Manicotti without meat because that is how my mother made it when I was growing up; however, my husband - not so much. You can make this a vegetarian meal easily by leaving out the meat. For my husband's sake, I add beef and/or sometimes chopped hot or mild Italian sausage. This meal is definitely a comfort food for me. I like to stuff extra shells and freeze them for a later date. To bake frozen Manicotti, spoon a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, place the frozen pasta on top and cover with another layer of tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.


Ingredients: 
Recipe and photo by cuckooking.blogspot.com
  • 1 package (8 oz) Manicotti pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 c ricotta cheese
  • ½ c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 3 c your favorite tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13X9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Allow the pasta dry on paper towels.
  3. Over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in oil. Add beef and cook until no longer pink and crumbled. Season with salt. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  4. To the beef mixutre, add 3 cups mozzarella, ricotta, salt, pepper, parsley and basil. Mix well.
  5. Using a teaspoon, carefully stuff pasta shells with mixture.
  6. Spread 2 cups spaghetti sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta over sauce. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of pasta.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan or romano and bake for another 10 minutes.

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