This is one of those dishes that you think of when you order out, but you can make it at home!
It’s easy, absolutely delicious and the tender stuffed pasta shells are comfort food that satisfy the most discriminating palate.
Serve for dinner to guests or anytime you want an old fashioned home cooked meal.
This is a wonderful meal to deliver to a home after a new baby arrives, someone has surgery, there’s been an illness, or just because.
It’s also easily made ahead and frozen for ‘one-of-those-days’, so make up a double batch.
This is my own version of a classic dish and I think you’ll really like it.
Magnificent Stuffed Manicotti
1-2 packages manicotti pasta noodles (they can break while cooking, so plan for extra)
2 22-24 oz. bottles of marinara sauce (or about the equivalent)
1 lb. ground hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbl. chopped or minced garlic
1 Tbl. dried parsley
2 cups (plus 1 additional cup = 3 cups total) grated mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. beef bouillon
1/2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (fresh makes ALL the difference)
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. You really will want to cook more than 1 box, though this recipe is for 14 stuffed shells, the pasta breaks easily during the cooking process.
While the pasta is cooking, line a cookie sheet with sides with foil and coat with spray release.
When pasta is done to al dente, drain, rinse and place on sprayed parchment paper. This will keep them from sticking to them self and to each other.
Meanwhile, in a large fry pan or pot, cook hamburger and onion together, chopping meat into small pieces as it cooks.
When the hamburger is no longer pink and the onions are translucent; add in the garlic and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes.
Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees IF cooking after preparation.
Options: 1 – 9×13” pan OR 2 – 8×8” or 9×9” pans
In a pan spread about ½ cup to 1 cup of the sauce, depending on which size pan you are using.
In a large bowl combine the completely cooled meat mixture with the parsley, mozzarella cheese, bouillon, Montreal steak seasoning and fresh Parmesan cheese.
Add in milk a little at a time, just until the meat mixture is a bit moist, but not soggy nor liquid pooling in the bowl.
Take a noodle, and gently spoon in some of the meat mixture, holding the bottom with your pinkie finger to prevent the meat mixture from going through, and out the other end of the noodle.
Lay the filled pasta into the pan with the sauce on the bottom.
Continue to fill noodles until the meat mixture is gone and yields 12-14 noodles.
Cover noodles completely with the sauce.
Sprinkle with the reserved mozzarella cheese.
Cover the pan with foil and place on foil lined cookie sheet with sides (to catch any over-flow) and bake for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
To freeze: Do NOT bake. Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap; then foil. Freeze up to 2 months.
When ready to bake, remove foil and plastic wrap; replace foil. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly.
When taking to another person or family, attach the instructions below by first covering pan with foil.
Then place the instructions on top.
Cover with saran wrap to hold it in place. Slide into a freezer bag if desired.
Mark with date to use by and place in freezer for later use – if keeping.
INSTRUCTIONS for MANICOTTI
To bake, do NOT defrost, but cook frozen.
Remove foil and plastic wrap; replace foil.
Put frozen manicotti on a foil lined sided baking pan
Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour 30 minutes.
Remove foil, bake an additional 15 minutes
Longer or until hot and bubbly.
Carrie Groneman’s recipe
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2017
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