Saturday, November 26, 2011

Three Cheese Manicotti with Meat Sauce

Nate and I were discussing Italian food. First, we absolutely love it. All of it. But second, what about all the different types of pasta noodles? I'm pretty sure the Italians were just trying to trick us into thinking that the different noodles taste different. I mean come on, really, what is the REAL difference of rigatoni and penne noodles. I know, I know, one is cut diagonally and the other straight, but what is the PURPOSE of this difference.  If I were to have a taste of each, blindfolded I wouldn't be able to name which was which.Or even angel hair, vs spaghetti, vs linguine, vs fettuccine. And why does alfredo sauce have to be eaten with fettuccine noodles?

Manicotti. I'm pretty sure that manicotti noodles are just large penne noodles.

Regardless of this trickery, I really do love Italian food. And I hope that you do too. Because I post a lot of Italian inspired recipes. And this is one of my favorites. So, I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Three Cheese Manicotti with Meat Sauce

14 oz diced tomatoes
14 oz crushed tomatoes
14 oz tomato sauce
1 lb ground beef
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS garlic cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tsp basil
1/2 TBS oregano
1/2 TBS thyme
15 oz ricotta
1 cup parmesan (split)
8 oz mozzarella (split)
2 eggs
3.5 oz spinach, steamed
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ TBS parsley
1 tsp basil
12-14 manicotti shells

1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and ground red pepper to olive oil and heat 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add ground beef to pan and brown.
4. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, basil, oregano and thyme to ground beef.
5. Bring to a simmer.
6. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
9. Add manicotti noodles and cook for about 5 minutes, until al dente.
10. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella (4 oz), eggs, spinach, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil.
11. When noodles are cooked, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes.
12. Spread about 2 cups of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
13. Completely fill noodles with cheese mixture.
14. Place noodles into the sauced pan, however you think they fit best.
15. Cover noodles with the remainder of the sauce.
16. Cover pan with foil and bake about 40 minutes in preheated oven.
17. Remove foil and sprinkle manicotti with remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella.
18. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
19. Remove and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

The steps of this dish do not have to be done in this exact order, you can prepare the cheese mixture first. You can also make this meatless, or you (of course) use store bought sauce, whatever you like.

This was delicious and we decided to freeze about half of the pan, so hopefully in a month or so we'll have some delicious manicotti for dinner. Yum.

What is your favorite type of pasta noodle?

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  1. Congratulations, you've been given the Versatile Blogger Award. Come Check it out.

  2. I love Manicotti! This looks so delicious! It's going on my "to make" list!

  3. Yummm! Now THIS is comfort food! :-)

  4. Yumm!!! Manicotti is my weakness. I'll have to try out your recipe. I love your blog. I'm your newest follower. (actually I thought I was already following you but I couldn't find you in my blog list. But now I am definitely following you)
    Would love to see you DIY Home Sweet home.

    P.S. I have a linky every Monday. Would love for you to stop by and link up.

  5. Bah! This looks delicious! Found you from the Tag-Along Thursday blog hop and sure glad I did!

    ~Amy from Up Mommy Creek


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