Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Baked Manicotti

The trick to making easy, cheesy manicotti is to get the no-boil lasagne noodles.

1 lb browned ground beef, drained
3 cups Ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagne noodles (Barilla brand has 16 in the box)
1 Jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (about 28 oz.)

Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup provolone, egg, salt, pepper, basil, and half of the browned ground beef in a large bowl.  Pour 2 quarts boiling water into a 13 X 9-inch baking dish.  Soak noodles until pliable, about 5 minutes.  Drain noodles on kitchen towel.  Pour off water and dry baking dish.

Mix the remaining browned ground beef in the spaghetti sauce.  Spread half of the spaghetti meat sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.

Top each soaked noodle with 1/4 cup cheese filling, roll into a cheese-filled tube and arrange, seam-side down, over sauce in baking dish.  They will all be very close together.  Spread remaining sauce over manicotti.  Cover with foil and bake until bubbling around edges, about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and provolone.  Continue baking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

This is so much easier than trying to fill manicotti noodles with a spoon or a pastry bag.  Add a green salad and garlic bread for a delicious Italian meal.

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