Everyday Italian: Beef and Cheese Manicotti

February 19, 2020

I guess I have Food Network nostalgia, because here’s another TV star cookbook. Everyday Italian: 123 Simple and Delicious Recipes by Giada De Laurentis is true to its name. These recipes are Italian-American dishes that are quick and easy. She’s not trying to be super authentic or artisnal in her cooking, but she is trying to create dishes that are inspired by her Italian heritage that are easy for home cooks. I think she has succeeded.

Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (15 ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 12 pieces of manicotti pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces (optional)
  1. Heat a medium-size skillet on medium. Add the ground beef and onion. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside.
  3.  Brush 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over a large baking sheet. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Working in batches, add the manicotti and cook until softened but still firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the prepared baking sheet and let cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture, and arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining cup of sauce over the manicotti. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and then the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the manicotti. Dot the top with the butter pieces.
  5. Bake the manicotti uncovered until it is heated through and the sauce bubbles on the bottom of the dish, about 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand for 5 minutes and serve.

My notes: This recipe was easy to make (I was worried about stuffing the manicotti, but it wasn’t hard), and it turned out well. I do not think you need the meat in here. When I make it again, I would probably just use the ricotta and be perfectly happy.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian: 123 Simple and Delicious Recipes by Giada De Laurentis.

 

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