This manicotti is filled with 3 kinds of cheese and baked to absolute perfection! It’s comfort food at its finest that everyone will go crazy over! It’s definitely sure to please a large crowd!
The cheese combined with the noodles and savory sauce creates a mouthwatering flavor that you will want to remember! I have fallen in love with Italian food over the years and this one is no exception! Try a few more of my favorite Italian recipes such as Tuscan Shrimp, Creamy Sausage Tortellini Skillet and Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta!
Stuffed Manicotti Recipe
Manicotti is one of my all-time favorite Italian recipes to make! It is something that my kids devour up each time that I make it, which we all know is a WIN! It’s a very traditional Italian recipe that you will see often on the menu at a restaurant but it also happens to be very easy to make at home! You use large noodles that you stuff with flavor and ingredients which makes this recipe is a little different than your traditional pasta that is topped with sauce. You will love it!
If you love cheese, then this is the recipe for you! It uses 3 different kinds of cheeses, all of which will melt into the shell creating an amazing texture and taste. This recipe is actually really simple and quick which makes it an excellent recipe to be kept on the regular dinner meal rotation! The flavors are simple and classic and don’t have too many ingredients that my kids question. In fact, chop up your spinach really small and they will never even notice that healthy ingredient in there! Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the kitchen, this is definitely something for everyone to love!
Manicotti Shell Ingredients
Most of these ingredients are common ones that you will already have on hand! The best recipes are the ones that I don’t have to make an extra trip to the store for! See the recipe card below for a list of complete ingredients and measurements.
- Manicotti: Use this pasta or if you don’t have manicotti shells, try and use large jumbo shells instead!
- Cheeses: You will use ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese to make a mixture that tastes heavenly!
- Spinach: Baby spinach or regular spinach will work just fine!
- Italian seasoning: Use what you have in your pantry or put together some of this very savory and delicious Italian seasoning with the spices you already have on hand!
- Egg: The egg is used to hold all of the different cheeses together!
- Marinara sauce: You can use store-bought marinara sauce or try out this delicious homemade sauce.
How to Make Homemade Manicotti
Like I said before, quick and simple is the name of this game! It only takes a few minutes of mixing before you are ready to pop this into the oven and bake! The outcome is divine!
- Preheat and cook pasta: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the manicotti according to package directions and rinse in cold water.
- Mix: In a medium sized bowl combine one cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan, spinach, Italian seasoning, and egg.
- Stuff: Fill up the shells with the cheese mixture. I find that using a piping back works the best.
- Add the sauce and bake: In a 9×13 inch pan add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom. Line the manicotti in an even layer. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake the manicotti for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Tips for Perfect Manicotti Pasta
There are a few things I have learned over the years when it comes to cooking pasta! Here are a few things that I think will help you out with this recipe. You will become a pasta master in no time!
- Al Dente: Make sure to undercook your manicotti (leave it a tiny bit firm). Follow the instructions on your pasta packaging to cook to “Al Dente”. This makes it easier to stuff the shells and they will continue to get a bit softer as they are baking in the oven!
- Add salt to water: Make sure to season your water with a little bit of salt as you begin cooking the pasta! This will make a huge different in your flavor of the pasta. A flavor you will realize that you were missing if you have skipped this step before! Trust me, just try it!
How to Store the Best Manicotti
We all want to know how we can save time in the kitchen and this is a recipe that can do just that! Follow these instructions for making this ahead of time so that when it comes time for dinner, all you have to do is pop it in the oven! This is a fantastic dish to eat the next day! If you have leftovers, here is how you can keep them fresh and ready to eat all week!
- Refrigerate: If you want to make this ahead for later that day, you can make it up to 8 hours earlier. Follow the directions on the recipe card and make as usual. Once you have filled the shells and covered them with sauce, cover your casserole dish with foil and leave it in the fridge. When you are ready to cook it, take it out and bake as directed. You may need to add an extra 10-15 minutes of cooking time since you started with a chilled dish.
- Freezer: Make as usual (but DON’T bake it!) and cover in an airtight container to be placed in the freezer. You can bake this frozen! Bake as directed, you will just need to add an additional 30 minutes to the cooking time!
Manicotti is a tried and true favorite! I love making it a complete meal and Italian food is an easy meal to add sides to because I fell like everything goes with it! My favorite is to try adding in some type of bread and a salad or two. This recipe is quick and easy so the sides should be too!
The Best Manicotti EVER!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the manicotti according to package directions and rinse in cold water.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine ricotta, one cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan, spinach, Italian seasoning, and egg.
- Stuff the shells with the cheese mixture. I find that using a piping bag works the best.
- In a 9×13 inch, pan add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom. Line the manicotti in an even layer. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.