easy beef manicotti | thumb in plum

It's good. I love it.
That's what Siah told me after trying this dish.
I had bought some manicotti shells and was trying to figure out what to do with them. Most of the dishes called for the noodles to be boiled first. Lame. How are you supposed to stuff a boiled noodle? After browsing several recipes I decided to find my own way and I'm glad I did.

This dish is pretty easy but does require some prep work. Nothing crazy. Just spooning meat into pasta shells (unless you want to wait until the meat cools off and pipe it in with a ziploc). In the future I might try piping uncooked meat into the uncooked pasta. I think that the dish ends up cooking long enough in the oven that the meat would cook through too. I can also see this being made with ground turkey or pork. The future holds so many possibilities...

easy beef manicotti | thumb in plum

Easy Beef Manicotti Recipe
  • 1 8oz box manicotti shells
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 10 pieces sun dried tomato reconstituted in 2 cups water
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 24oz jar tomato sauce
  • 1/2 14oz bag chopped spinach, room temp
  • 1/2 a 15oz container of ricotta cheese
  • Couple generous pinches of Italian 3 cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mince reconstituted sun dried tomatoes, saving the liquid they were sitting in.
  3. In a hot pan add beef, garlic salt, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, basil, and rosemary. Mix together in pan (because you're lazy like me and don't want to wash an extra bowl). When the beef is browned and cooked through take off heat and mix in ricotta and a couple generous pinches of the Italian cheese blend
  4. Put the room temp. chopped spinach in the bottom of a lidded baking dish (you can use foil if you don't have a lid).
  5. Stuff the uncooked manicotti shells with the beef mixture and lay in 2 layers in the baking dish. Pour 1/2 the tomato sauce evenly over the first layer and add enough of the tomato water you set aside to not yet reach the top of the layer. After adding the 2nd layer of stuffed manicotti, pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly over the top of the shells and add just enough tomato water to just barely cover the last layer.
  6. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until shells are soft
  7. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and bake till melted
 How you serve it is up to you. I found lifting out individual manicottis too hard so I just cut it like lasagna and serve with a spatula. Enjoy!

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