5 Cheese Manicotti

 

I have Italian at least once a week for dinner… and no that’s not including pizza. I make manicotti about once every two months. I’m a cheese freak and so is my other half. Now I will admit that I used to buy the box and just use the brands recipe, but it was kind of bland. So I decided one day to put a little “oomph” into it for some flavor. It is a real belly filler and tastes even better the second day so save some left overs 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz cottage cheese (curd size is your choice)
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup for topping later shredded  Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Provolone Cheese ( a mild white cheddar is ok too)
  • 2 large beaten eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves – or 2 teaspoons of dry
  • 2 large chopped garlic cloves – or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce (I sometimes use more because Im addicted to it)
  • 10-12 medium manicotti shells

 

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the box – do not overcook the firmer the better – rinse with cold water and carefully lay out on wax paper on the counter.
  2. Preheat oven to 350*f
  3. Except the 1/2 cup of mozzarella you are saving for the topping – mix all the cheeses together in a large bowl
  4. Now mix in the beaten eggs
  5. In a small pan on medium heat add oil and garlic – stir up until garlic is just starting to brown
  6. Add hot garlic to cheese mix
  7. Then add all the spices
  8. Spread 1 or 2 cups of marinara sauce in the bottom of your pan/casserole dish (13in x 9in works the best)
  9. Stuff the pasta tubes with the filling – I use a teaspoon and my fingers – stuff just to the edge and line the manicotti in your pan
  10. Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the manicotti (I cover them completely so the pasta doesn’t dry out put yet not so much that they are swimming in sauce)
  11. Bakecovered with foil  for 20 minutes
  12. After 20 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top and a little Parmesan if you like
  13. Put back in the oven for 15 minutes uncovered
  14. When finished let stand at least 5-10 minutes before serving so the cheese doesn’t run all over the place … enjoy !

Wow now Im hungry for Italian …. 🙂

 

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