Manicotti is a dish I came to love later in life. My mom would make this when I was a kid and I would always get sent up to my room because I didn’t want to eat it. Let’s face it this can take hours to prepare, no mother should spend hours in the kitchen and have their children say it doesn’t taste good.
Nowadays I can eat an entire casserole of this on my own. I would need an entire day but it can be done. I used mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese but feel free to use goat cheese and other fancier stuff. My aunt likes using cottage cheese instead of ricotta.
Definitely, make your own meat sauce, it makes a world of difference.
- 1 lb beef
- 1 package manicotti shells
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 32 oz whole milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add the onions and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 10 seconds.
- Add the beef and break it up using a wooden spoon.
- Once the beef is completely brown, season with granulated garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and red wine.
- Place a lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low, and stir occasionally. Cook for 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted Walter to a boil.
- Once the sauce thickens, add the brown sugar and fresh basil. Check for seasoning.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parsley, parmesan cheese, garlic, mozzarella cheese, and salt.
- Place the ricotta mixture in a ziplock bag, set aside.
- Cook the manicotti in boiling water, then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- To assemble, spread about 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Fill each manicotti with the ricotta filling, fill both ends.
- Place the filled manicotti’s in the casserole dish then ladle the remaining sauce over the manicotti.
- Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover and place it in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts completely.
- Serve with salad and garlic bread if desired, enjoy!
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