My Easy Homemade Manicotti is a family favorite. I stuff the cooked manicotti shells with a mixture of ricotta cheese and Italian cheese, before covering it with my favorite homemade Sunday sauce and some shredded cheese and baking to molten perfection in the oven!
Easy Homemade Manicotti
This easy baked pasta dish is the perfect bowl of comfort food and sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. I like to use leftover homemade Sunday Sauce, as I always make extra to store in the freezer. However, if you don’t have homemade sauce don’t worry, just warm up your preferred brands jar of marinara sauce.
I’ve made this manicotti recipe without meat, but you can swap the tomato sauce for a bolognese or ragu sauce if you prefer.
This easy manicotti recipe can be prepared ahead, then stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. Which makes this a great mid week pasta dinner for the family.
Another great pasta recipe to try if you have a smoker is smoked shotgun shells! Tender pasta tubes stuffed with a meaty-cheesy filling, wrapped in bacon, sauced, and smoked – DIVINE!!!
- PASTA: for this recipe I use a box of manicotti pasta tubes.
- CHEESE: I fill the manicotti with a combination of ricotta cheese and Italian cheese. I also sprinkle extra Italian cheese over the top of the dish before baking in the oven.
- SAUCE: I use my favorite homemade spaghetti Sunday Sauce, or you can use your favorite brand of marinara sauce.
How to make Easy Homemade Manicotti
To begin, boil your pasta as per package instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, reheat leftover Sunday sauce or warm up preferred brand jar of marinara sauce.
Mix the ricotta cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese in a bowl. Spray 9×13-inch oven proof pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Fill the manicotti pasta with your cheese mixture (it helps to use a piping bag!)
Place filled pasta in the oven proof pan.
Pour the Sunday sauce or marinara sauce over the pasta and place the pan into the hot oven to bake or 30 minutes.
Spread the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top of the cooked dish and serve.
- I’ve used manicotti, but you could also use cannelloni noodles, or substitute with large shell shaped pasta.
- I’ve used a tomato based Sunday sauce, but you can use your favorite marinara sauce which is also vegetable based.
- Swap the vegetable sauce for a meat based bolognese or ragu.
- Add other ingredients to the ricotta cheese mixture, try fresh or frozen spinach, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or freshly herbs like basil, parsley or thyme.
- Sprinkle over some freshly shredded Parmesan cheese before baking the manicotti.
- To make gluten free manicotti, look for gluten free pasta, either manicotti or cannelloni.
This hearty bowl of homemade manicotti packs a real flavor punch, so keep any side dishes simple. A dressed tomato or green salad with a side of garlic bread, focaccia or crusty bread on the table.
Recipe hints & tips
- The best way to fill manicotti is to use a piping bag, this will ensure you get the filling right into the center of the tube.
- If you don’t have a piping bag, a ziploc bag with the corner cut off will work just as well.
- Once the manicotti has cooked, and to stop the tubes from sticking together, set each tube onto a sheet of baking paper allowing plenty space between each shell.
Manicotti and cannelloni are very similar in that they are both large tube shaped pasta shells. Manicotti is an Italian-American pasta, which translates as “little sleeves”. However, where cannelloni is a completely smooth pasta tube, manicotti has ridges running around the outside of the tube, which are ideal for holding the pasta sauce.
Leftover manicotti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat in a warm oven or microwave.
Yes. You can either cook the entire dish, allow it to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Or, layer up the dish and freeze it before it is baked.
However you can also cook and stuff the manicotti and place individually on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Freeze the manicotti for 2 hours until firm, then place the frozen tubes in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. You can then take out as many manicotti as you need for serving and finish the dish with your sauce of choice.
Don’t miss these other delicious Pasta Recipes from When Is Dinner:
- 1 Box Manicotti Pasta
- 1 Container Ricotta Cheese
- 2 cups Italian Cheese divided
- 2 cups Spaghetti 'Sunday' Sauce
- To begin, boil your pasta as per package instructions.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, reheat leftover Sunday sauce or warm up preferred brand jar of marinara sauce.
- Mix the ricotta cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese in a bowl.
- Spray 9x13-inch oven proof pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Fill the manicotti pasta with your cheese mixture (it helps to use a piping bag!)
- Place filled pasta in the oven proof pan.
- Pour the Sunday sauce or marinara sauce over the pasta and place the pan into the hot oven to bake or 30 minutes.
- Spread the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top of the cooked dish and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g
These are a few items I find helpful when preparing this Homemade Manicotti Recipe:
Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish with Red Plastic Lid -13.2 INCH x 8.9inch x 2 inchWeetiee Pastry Bag – 100 Pieces 16 Inch [Extra Thick] Disposable Piping Bags Set with 8 decorating tips, 1 coupler and 3 Bag Ties for Cake Decorating Royal FrostingEveryday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious RecipesThe 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook: 101 Regional Classics Made SimpleItalian Cookbook for Beginners: Over 100 Classic Recipes with Everyday Ingredients