Baked Manicotti

Sometimes, a girl just craves a baked pasta. Big noodles rolled around a creamy ricotta/herb filling and then smothered in a spicy garlic tomato sauce. Making one’s own tomato sauce is key here, because you want the right amount of moisture for the noodles to absorb but not so much that the dish becomes soggy.

This recipe did all the proper testing you would need to get it right, and baking the noodles in a loaf pan is genius because it’s just the right size.

I couldn’t get enough of these manicotti, so I made a double batch and enjoyed the leftovers for lunches. It is simply wonderful if you’re craving that kind of thing.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Baked Manicotti

Ingredients – Sauce:

  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or more…)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil

Ingredients – pasta:

  • 3 oz. part-skim ricotta
  • 3 oz. whole-milk mozz. cheese, shredded (3/4 c.)
  • 2 oz. Parm cheese, grated (1 c. )
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles (use Barilla brand)

Preheat oven to 400.

Process all sauce ingredients except basil in food processor until smooth, 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and stir in basil. Set aside.

Combine ricotta, mozz, 1/2 c. Parm, egg, basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Fill large bowl or pan with boiling water, slipping the noodles in one at a time. Let soak about 5 min., separating with a knife if needed. Remove from water and drain on paper towels.

Spread 1/2 c. sauce over bottom of a greased bread loaf pan (brilliant!). Spread 1/4 c. of the cheese mixture over 3/4 of a noodle, then roll up starting at the cheese end. Place in loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat with rest of noodles to fill pan. Spoon remaining sauce evenly over the top, then sprinkle with 1/2 Parm.

Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, 25 min. Remove foil and bake until cheese is lightly browned, 10 min. Let cool 15 min. before serving.

These are my firmed-up leftovers, but the night you serve it, they will be much softer and ooze goodness. Finger-licking good.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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2 responses to “Baked Manicotti

  1. i am on my way to the store. i am making this tomorrow…yum yum !!!

  2. Tell us how you like it, Heidi!

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