I’ve been on an Italian food kick this month and this recipe for baked manicotti wins hands down. Nothing fancy here, just simple good food that is easy to prepare. This recipe uses some key store bought ingredients that make this dish a breeze to make. Instead of manicotti pasta, I use oven ready lasagna noodles. They’re so easy to use. Just make sure to soak them in hot water for a few minutes beforehand to make them pliable. Then, spread some homemade cheese filling on them and roll them up like tubes. It’s so much easier than trying to fill a hollow tube of pasta!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Pour some boiling water into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish to about 1-inch high. Add the lasagna noodles one at a time and submerge them. After 5 minutes, carefully remove noodles from water and lay them on paper towels to dry.
- Discard the water, clean the baking dish and dry completely.
- Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with some sauce (about 2 cups).
- On a cutting board, lay out one noodle. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture evenly onto 3/4 of the noodle, leaving the top 1/4 of the noodle exposed. Starting at the short end with cheese on it, roll the noodle into a tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. I fit 8 manicotti in each row. Top evenly with remaining sauce (I like a lot of sauce), making sure to completely cover pasta.
- Cover pan with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup parmesan and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Top each serving with some chopped fresh parsley.