We're going to go ahead and say it: These manicotti might even be better than your Italian grandmother's. Don't have an Italian grandmother? All the more reason to try this spectacular baked pasta dish!(Nisa Burns)
If you love manicotti, you’ll love this version.
I like to add sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and red pepper flakes to the filling, which gives the dish more depth. Also, make note of this go-to tomato sauce recipe. It’s great on all sorts of pasta dishes and as a dipping sauce for bread!
Ingredient note: For the filling, I suggest using the sun-dried tomato pesto found at Trader Joe’s. If you cannot find this product, you can use 1 Tbsp of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes with a little bit of the juice. Add 1 tsp of finely chopped pine nuts. Then, place in a food processor with a little bit of olive oil and mix till smooth.
- 1 (8-oz) box manicotti
For the sauce:
- 2 (14-oz) cans unseasoned tomato sauce
- 1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
- ½ Tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
For the filling:
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups soft ricotta cheese
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 8 oz artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 Tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375F.
Boil manicotti till al dente (about 9 to 10 minutes), then drain and allow to slightly cool.
Make the sauce. Mix all sauce ingredients into a large pot. Place the pot on low to medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While sauce is simmering, make the filling. Place all filling ingredients into a large bowl and stir till everything is combined.
With a spoon, fill manicotti with your filling and place in a casserole dish.
Pour your sauce over the manicotti, place in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
Top finished manicotti with extra Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
About the Author
Nisa Burns is a recent culinary school graduate from the Art Institute of Virginia Beach and the author of Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food. She shares accessible recipes and tips for new cooks on her blog at Kitchenability.com and on her YouTube channel.