Classic Beef Manicotti

This classic comfort dish is sure to please this winter. Try it with a homemade tomato sauce (see link below for our recipe), or make it easy with a jarred sauce. Recipe makes 14-18 manicotti.


Recipe and photograph by Kimme Hargrove

2 packages manicotti shells
1 pound ground beef (or substitute ground turkey, Italian sausage or venison)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups marinara sauce (*try our homemade Robust Tomato Sauce:, or use a jarred sauce of your choice)

Heat oven to 375°F.

Cook manicotti shells, according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. (The shells can become delicate, which is why 2 packages is suggested).

In a large skillet, heat ground meat and onion on medium-high until beginning to brown, then add garlic. Continue to cook until completely browned and crumbled.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta, two-thirds of the mozzarella, two-thirds of the Parmesan, eggs, parsley, sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Add meat mixture, and stir to combine.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with about half the marinara sauce.

Spoon meat/cheese mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag, then cut off a small bottom corner, and pipe the mixture into each manicotti noodle, being careful not to tear the noodle. (If a tear occurs, gently roll manicotti to close and place seam-side down in pan.) Lay filled manicotti noodles in the pan in a single layer.

After pan is full, spoon the remaining sauce over the top middle of manicotti. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan on top.

Cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover, and carefully broil on low for about 4-5 minutes to brown. Serve immediately.

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