An easy family favorite!
Manicotti is a classic Italian comfort food that is a delicious family favorite and perfect for the holidays. Manicotti tubes stuffed with a ricotta cheese mixture, topped with marinara and additional cheese and then baked to perfection. I love meals that can be made ahead and is freezer friendly and this is one of those meals.
Classic Manicotti Ingredients
1 15oz container of ricotta cheese
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (I use an Italian blend)
1 tablespoon of dried or fresh parsley
1 box of Manicotti tubes
1 jar of Marinara or homemade
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I use an Italian blend)
2 32oz can of crushed tomatoes half of onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Pinch of salt pinch of black pepper
Cook Manicotti tubes according to the directions on the box. As soon as they finish cooking drain and run cold water over them to cool and set aside.
To make filling: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. I double this recipe when using 1 box of Manicotti tubes.
To make Homemade Marinara: Sautee onion in olive oil in a large skillet until onions are translucent. Add garlic, and then tomatoes. Add seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat and allow sauce to reduce slightly.
To fill the manicotti tubes: Place cheese filling in a gallon size ziplock bag and cut the corner of the bag off. Hold the tube in one hand and squeeze the bag with the other hand until the cheese mixture fills the tube. Spread some marinara on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and then place the filled manicotti tubes in a row in the dish. Top all the manicotti with marinara. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle cheese all over the top and then bake for an additional 10 minutes.
To freeze: Follow the instructions except baking, and place in the freezer for up to 6 months. I use the aluminum foil pans. Before cooking allow pan to thaw in refrigerator 12 to 24 hours before baking. It may take a bit longer to bake, and I would leave it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes so the cheese doesn't get too brown.
For a video tutorial, check out my YouTube channel!