How to Make Manicotti

Four Methods:Preparing Cheese MixtureUncooked Shells MethodCooked Shells MethodBaking Manicotti

Manicotti is an Italian-inspired dish made up of large pasta shells stuffed with a variety of cheeses. There are many types of manicotti, including spinach, beef, sausage or plain cheese. Manicotti can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to bake it. You can use a ready-made marinara sauce when making manicotti or make your own sauce. It is a hearty dish for all ages and can easily be modified to suit any taste. Just follow these basic steps to learn how to make manicotti.

Method 1
Preparing Cheese Mixture

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    Smooth together 15 oz. (444 ml) of ricotta cheese and 4 oz. (118 ml) of cream cheese in a large bowl.
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    Stir in 8 oz. (236 ml) of mozzarella cheese and 4 oz. (118 ml) Parmesan or Romano cheese.
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    Fold in 2 large eggs.
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    Stir in 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) of salt and 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) pepper.
    • Depending on your preference you can add a 10 oz. (296 ml) of package of frozen spinach that has been thawed and squeezed dry. You may also add 1 lb. (473 ml) of browned ground beef or Italian sausage to your cheese mixture. Even a small package of sliced pepperoni can be added at this point for a spicier manicotti recipe.
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    Spoon the cheese mixture into a plastic storage bag and cut one corner.
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    Spread approximately 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) of marinara sauce, from a jar or homemade, into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
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    Open 1 box of 12 to 14 uncooked manicotti shells.

Method 2
Uncooked Shells Method

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    Pipe the cheese mixture into each uncooked shell by squeezing the plastic bag, forcing the cheese mixture through the hole that you cut.
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    Place each filled shell into the sauced baking dish, arranging them into 2 even rows.

Method 3
Cooked Shells Method

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    Boil the manicotti shells in a large pot of salted water for approximately 4 to 6 minutes until they are slightly softened, but still firm.
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    Drain the shells through a colander, taking care not to tear any of them.
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    Leave the shells in the colander and allow to cool slightly.
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    Remove 1 shell at a time and pipe in the cheese mixture.
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    Place each filled shell into the sauce lined baking dish, arranging them into 2 even rows.

Method 4
Baking Manicotti

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    Cover the filled shells (both uncooked and cooked methods) with 1 1/2 cups to 2 1/2 cups (355 ml to 591 ml) of marinara sauce.
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    Sprinkle 4 oz. (118 ml) of Parmesan or Romano cheese over the top.
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    Bake at 350 degrees F (176 degrees C.)
    • Bake the uncooked shells covered with foil for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
    • Bake the cooked shells uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes.
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    Serve warm.

Tips

  • For a lower fat option, try low or reduced fat versions of ricotta and cream cheese. Low fat cottage cheese may also be substituted for the ricotta in your homemade manicotti Just make sure you drain all the liquid out of the cottage cheese prior to use.

Things You'll Need

  • 15 oz. (444 ml) ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. (118 ml) cream cheese
  • Large bowl
  • 8 oz. (236 ml) mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz. (118 ml) Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) pepper
  • Plastic storage bag
  • 3 to 4 cups (709 ml to 946 ml) marinara sauce, from a jar or homemade
  • 9 x 13 baking dish
  • 1 box of 12 to 14 uncooked manicotti shells
  • Large pot of salted water
  • Colander
  • 4 oz. (118 ml) Parmesan or Romano cheese

Article Info

Categories: Pasta and Noodles