Easy Baked Manicotti
Easy Baked Manicotti
I never, ever make Manicotti because I thought it to be anything BUT Easy Baked Manicotti. I have always stuck to making stuffed shells, my recipe for that is linked here. Shells for me, were much easier to stuff then the long tubes of manicotti. But this EASY Baked Manicotti is so simple to make that it even takes less time than my stuffed shells. This recipe uses simple ingredients, like cottage cheese (creamier then ricotta) homemade (or jar sauce) mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and simple spices and herbs. The full, printable recipe is below, which you can skip to, but I will share some tips and info before we get to the recipe if you care to read.
What Midge Makes of Gardenia Kitchen
The manicotti tip came from my friend Candice of the recipe blog Gardenia Kitchen. She showed on her instagram @whatmidgemakes, using the Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles that she soaked in warm water, for the manicotti. I thought this was a genius tip. I decided to give it a try and it worked like a charm. Make sure you add a decent amount of filling to your noodles as they are thicker when rolled, so you need to overcompensate with the cheese filling. Next time I may cut each sheet in half and that way I have less noodle. But this way was also delicious. I did have a few sheets of the pasta break apart but I was easily able to patch them together using the cheese as “glue” so that there was no wasting of noodles.
Now you can either use your own recipe for the tomato sauce for this recipe, use jar sauce or make mine. I make Mr. Tipsy’s Mom’s all day sauce in big batches, freeze it and use it for recipes like this. The recipe for that is linked here. We call it Sunday Sauce and it is worth the time it takes to cook it.
Now I get a lot of flack for using cottage cheese instead of Ricotta Cheese. Let me explain. Cottage cheese is creamier than ricotta and makes for a less dry manicotti or stuffed shell when baked. The cottage cheese curds are basically what ricotta is if you blended them. Plus cottage cheese is so much cheaper now. If you are really bothered by this, you can use ricotta as a replacement for my cottage cheese. Or you can use a mix of both. I have noticed lately that some cottage cheese is SUPER watery, so I make sure to drain that in a mesh strainer when I see it super watery.
Use The Extra Cheese
If you have extra of the cheese mixture left after you stuff all your lasagna sheets, i like to dot the top of my casserole with the extra cheese so that it melts over the whole thing and makes a creamy and delicious sauce.
Extra Is Good
I make a huge batch of these when I do make them. They are perfectly fine frozen, unbaked or baked. Just make sure you wrap them up really well in plastic wrap and then foil. These are great to thaw out and bake on a cold Winter night.
Full & Printable Recipe Is Below
Easy Baked Manicotti
I have shied away from making manicotti for years because it is so labor intensive. I have a very popular stuffed shells recipe that is a lot of work but slightly simpler than stuffing those long tubes of manicotti. Recently a friend showed me her simple manicotti hack, I gave it a try and it worked wonderfully. This recipe is a small labor of love but the results are a heavenly baked pasta dish that your whole family will love.
- 4 cups of cottage cheese (sometimes I use 1/2 ricotta 1/2 cottage cheese)
- • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, I use the powder like shredded parmesan
- • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, sometimes I add a little more then you will need 2 cups of mozzarella for the topping
- • 3 tablespoons of fresh minced parsley, Basil and or Oregano
- • salt and pepper to taste
- • 2 eggs whisked
- • 2 boxes of Barilla oven ready lasagna
- • about 4 cups of your favorite sauce, I make my own (linked above in the post)
- Mix together your cottage cheese, mozzarella and parmesan. Add your parsley, oregano or basil and salt and pepper and stir well and taste. Adjust the seasonings to your preference. Taste test this BEFORE you add the raw eggs.
- Whisk your two eggs and add into the cheese mixture, combine well.
- Next you need to soak the lasagna noodles so that you are able to roll them. I added very warm (not scalding) water to a large bowl and gently added the noodles to the bowl. Some of the noodles were stuck together in the box and I had to gently break them apart. Some I had to soak to unstick. There were some noodles that tore a little bit in the process, but I was still able to stuff them with cheese. I did this by laying the torn pieces together , adding the cheese, rolling them up and sort of using the cheese as "glue" to roll them up.
- When your noodles are soft enough to work with, which took about 10 minutes, I placed some paper towels on my work surface laid a noodle down on the paper towel, dabbed the noodle if it was VERY wet with a paper towel and added a 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cheese filling to one end and then rolled the noodle into a tube. Repeat the process until all your noodles and cheese are used up.
- In a baking dish or dishes that are big enough to hold your manicotti, add a couple of cups of the sauce of your choice (my recipe for sauce is linked in the post above) to the bottom of the baking dish, place your manicotti in the baling dish. Pour the rest of your sauce over the manicotti (about 2 cups) sprinkle with the remainder of the mozzarella, I add a little bit more of the seasonings to the top, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. Every oven is different so check on them. They will be bubbly and browned when done.
- You can also wrap these really well either before or after baking and freeze them.
I prefer to use cottage cheese over ricotta cheese in this recipe because it yields a creamier filling that is not as dry as ricotta. Once in awhile I get a very watery cottage cheese when I open the package and when that happens I drain it in a strainer before mixing. I have also used a mix of half cottage and half ricotta which works well also.
You must log in to post a comment.