My Italian grandmother was still the best cook that I’ve ever met in my life. I myself couldn’t speak a lick of Italian when growing up, and to this day, I still can’t. It was always fun to say the names of the foods, though, and one of my favorites was Manicotti. One thing I found out was that it was more fun to eat than it was to say! It wasn’t until I found out many years later that Manicotti literally means little sleeve in English, which makes perfect sense.

Because it’s a sleeve, there are a lot of things that you can do with Manicotti, and one thing that my grandmother always did was make sure it was filled with plenty of delicious cheeses and covered in sauce. It looks pretty complicated to make, but most of the time spent is in the cooking process, and I learned that it was easy to prepare, so I’ve started making it myself over the years!

As much as I love making my baked Manicotti (and my family certainly loves it, too), I have to set the recipe aside when I’m trying to lose a few pounds since it’s so hearty. If you’ve earned yourself a cheat day or aren’t counting calories, this recipe is just the thing that will make your day! It’s a very warming meal that’s perfect for those cold months when you want to stay in and gather with the family.

I’ve scaled down the recipe a little bit since my grandmother was making Manicotti for many of us, and this recipe is perfect for four people. Feel free to add to this recipe if you need to make more, especially if you’re bringing this dish for a luncheon or potluck. I’ve found that it’s a big hit at family gatherings, too, so I make sure to prepare a few of these recipes so that I have enough for a dozen people (at least).

Even if you’re not from an Italian family, the people in your house are going to be sure to love this Manicotti recipe. That is, of course, unless you have lactose intolerant people in the home. If not, then this is the perfect food for people who love cheese and pasta. It’s also great for beginners who want to create an authentic Italian recipe without having to travel overseas or spending big money on going out.

With that in mind, it’s surprisingly cheap to make my Manicotti, and there’s a good chance that the only ingredients you’ll have to pick up are the actual Manicotti pasta and several different cheeses that we use (three in total). Preparation is a snap, and most of the time spent making Manicotti comes from waiting for the oven to do its thing. Even that part is enjoyable as you’ll get the great smell wafting through your home.

Your family might be chomping at the bit to dig in once you take the Manicotti out of the oven, but make sure you wait a few minutes to let it cool down! You know how hot it can be to eat a fresh pizza out of the oven, so you don’t want to burn the roof of your mouth (a common mistake that I’ve seen my children make). If you’re ready to get baking and enjoy a taste of Italy, just grab these ingredients and follow the instructions to make this hearty Manicotti in your home, and enjoy the great taste and quiet family time that usually comes when everyone is too busy with their mouths full!

Preparation Time: 75-80 Minutes

Serves: Four People

Nutrition (Per Serving):

Calories: 675
Fat: 30 g
Protein: 45 g
Carbohydrates: 53 g
Sodium: 1250 mg
Cholesterol: 190 mg

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 ½ Ounces Manicotti Pasta
  • 1 16 Ounce Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
  • 8 Ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • ¾ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Pint Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Before getting started, set your oven to 350 degrees (175 celsius) so that you don’t forget to do it later!
  2. While your oven is warming up, set the stovetop to medium-high heat, placing a pot of water and bringing it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, place in your 5.5 ounces of Manicotti until it’s ready. Then, drain out the water and rinse off the pasta with cold water.
  3. Take a large bowl to prepare your mixture, placing in the pint of Ricotta cheese, eight ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese, ½ cup of Parmesan (so not all of it), two eggs, teaspoon of parsley and pinches of salt and pepper. Stir them all together until you have a thorough mixture.
  4. Then, take an 11×17 inch baking dish and pour in a half cup of spaghetti sauce. Fill each of your Manicotti shells with three tablespoons of the cheese mixture from the bowl and place them on the sauce. With the leftover sauce, pour over your Manicotti shells and then use the remaining Parmesan cheese to create a topping on the shells.
  5. Place the dish into the oven (which you can do with aluminum foil so that it cooks more evenly and moist while avoiding a mess in the oven) for around 45 minutes. It could take a little shorter or longer by a couple of minutes, though when it’s bubbly, you’ll know it’s finished!
  6. Let the dish sit on top of the oven for about five to 10 minutes until it’s settled down, and then you’re ready to eat! There are four hearty servings from this recipe, though you might not be able to make it all the way through! Not to worry, Manicotti makes for great for leftovers, as well, and some have said that they’re even better the next day!