A Manicotti Recipe Like My Grandmother Used to Make!
Hello, friends! Today I want to share with you a recipe my grandmother used to make – an amazing Manicotti Recipe Stuffed with Cheese.
This dish, which some might call Cannelloni, is a delightful fusion of rich cheese stuffing enveloped in perfectly cooked manicotti pasta, all topped with a savory marinara sauce.
Although very similar, the primary difference between Manicotti and Cannelloni is the shape of the pasta. Manicotti is a more rigid pasta tube, slightly thicker with ridges, while Cannelloni is a pasta tube that is smaller, smoother, and a slightly thinner tube.
The secret to my Grandmother’s Manicotti’s irresistible flavor lies in the special blend of ingredients – from sautéed shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh thyme and four cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and goat cheese.
So, let’s get cooking
Manicotti Recipe Stuffed with 4 Cheeses
- 1 box of Manicotti or Cannelloni (14 pasta shells)
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 large Shallot, minced
- ¼ cup Sundried Tomatoes, chopped into very small dice
- 2 cups Spinach Leaves, chopped (if small leaves, leave them whole)
- 1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped
- 18 ounces Ricotta Cheese
- 8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese
- 5 ounces Goat Cheese
- 2 ounces Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 10 Basil Leaves, cut into a fine julienne
- 3 cups Marinara Sauce
- ½ cup Mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan, shredded
Preheat Oven to 350ºF (175ºC)
- Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- In a Wok, heat the butter over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the spinach and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then, add the garlic and turn off the heat to avoid burning the garlic. Set aside to cool.
- In a glass bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, goat cheese, Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper. Add the reserved spinach mixture and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and use it to fill the cooked pasta shells.
- In a lasagna pan, spread a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place the filled pasta shells on top and add a little more sauce over the pasta.
- Sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the inside of the pasta is hot to your liking.
- Enjoy your delicious homemade Manicotti Pasta, a flavorful blend of pasta, cheese, and herbs baked to perfection!
Frequently Asked Questions about Manicotti Recipe
1. What is manicotti?
Manicotti, also referred to as “cannelloni” in some cultures, is a type of pasta that is typically stuffed with a cheese mixture and baked in a marinara sauce.
2. How is manicotti different from cannelloni?
Manicotti is a more rigid pasta, slightly thicker with ridges, while cannelloni is smoother. However, the stuffing and preparation can be similar for both.
3. What is the stuffing inside the manicotti made of?
The stuffing in the video is made of a cheese mixture that includes ricotta, mozzarella, goat cheese, and parmesan. It also contains sautéed shallots, sundried tomatoes, garlic, fresh thyme, and spinach.
4. Can I exclude certain ingredients from the stuffing?
Absolutely! If you don’t like certain ingredients, such as goat cheese or sundried tomatoes, you can exclude them. The recipe is flexible.
5. How do you make the cheese mixture more flavorful?
To enhance the flavor, you can sauté shallots, and add sundried tomatoes, garlic, and fresh thyme. Chopped parsley or basil can also be added.
6. How do you prepare the pasta for stuffing?
Cook the manicotti pasta as per the manufacturer’s instructions. However, ensure it’s not overcooked; it should retain some firmness to hold the stuffing.
7. How do you stuff the manicotti?
The cheese mixture is placed in a pastry bag, and each manicotti is filled from both ends to ensure it’s fully stuffed. But if you do not have a pastry bag you can use a small spoon.
8. What sauce is used in a manicotti recipe?
A marinara or tomato sauce is typically used. It’s spread at the bottom of the baking dish and drizzled over the stuffed manicotti before baking.
9. Can I prepare this manicotti recipe in advance?
Yes, you can prepare and stuff the manicotti in advance and refrigerate them. When ready, you can bake them with the sauce and cheese.
10. How long should I bake the manicotti?
Since the pasta and sauce are already cooked, you only need to bake long enough to melt the cheese and heat everything through. This can be done at 350°F until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
11. What herbs complement manicotti?
Basil and thyme are great choices. Freshly chopped basil can be sprinkled on top before serving.
12. Can I use other cheeses for the stuffing?
Yes, the recipe is versatile. While ricotta, mozzarella, goat cheese, and parmesan are used in the video, you can experiment with other cheeses you prefer.
13. Why is my manicotti filling dry?
Ensure that the sundried tomatoes are moist and cut into small pieces. Also, don’t overcook the pasta, as it can absorb moisture from the filling.
14. Can I use other fillings for manicotti?
Absolutely! While cheese is traditional, you can experiment with meat, vegetables, or other fillings of your choice.
15. How do I serve manicotti?
Once baked, serve the manicotti with some marinara sauce and sprinkle with fresh herbs or grated cheese.
16. Can I freeze stuffed manicotti?
Yes, manicotti can be frozen after stuffing. When ready to eat, thaw, add sauce, cheese, and bake.
17. Why is my manicotti pasta breaking while stuffing?
Ensure the pasta is not overcooked. It should be al dente to retain its shape while stuffing.
18. Can I use homemade pasta for manicotti?
Yes, if you’re skilled in making pasta, homemade sheets can be used to roll into manicotti shapes.
19. What side dishes go well with manicotti?
A fresh salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables complement manicotti well.
20. Can I make a vegetarian or vegan version of manicotti?
Yes, for a vegetarian version, simply ensure all ingredients are meat-free. For a vegan version, use plant-based cheeses and ensure the pasta and other ingredients are vegan-friendly.
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