Preparing healthier meals is one of the journeys I am on in this new year. This baked manicotti recipe is one that I put together from several different recipes I found. The cheeses are homemade as well as the spaghetti sauce, and the basil and parsley are from last summer’s garden. I get my eggs from a friend who has pastured chickens which is a huge blessing! The only thing in this that’s not so good for you is the white pasta shells. Since we don’t eat pasta much (maybe once a month or so), and since my tastebuds seem very whole wheat pasta resistant, I am ok with the compromise this early in my journey, although when all the pasta I have is gone I hope to switch to the brown rice pasta. 🙂 You can always use whole wheat, sourdough, or brown rice pasta for yours.
Baked Manicotti Recipe
12 large manicotti-you can also use the shell shaped ones for fun
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
3 cups spaghetti sauce
Prepare pasta according to package directions and rinse with cold water.
Put one cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Mix egg, ricotta cheese, 1 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, basil, and parsley in a small bowl.
Mix the herbs, egg, and cheeses well
For easy stuffing, put the cheeses in a plastic baggie that seals and snip off a bottom corner.
Cheese mixture in the baggie with the corner snipped off
Insert the cut corner into the manicotti and squeeze the bag to pipe the mixture into the shell. Be careful you don’t overfill it or it may split. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.
Stuffed shells on their bed of sauce
I actually had some odd sized shells so I just stuffed until I was out of stuffing. 🙂 Now you need to pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the last 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
All ready for the oven
Now bake this in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
Bubbly and nicely browned
I served this with a simple salad, green beans, and garlic toast made with my Italian Herb & Cheese Bread recipe that I also use for pizza crust.
This is really simple to make. You can even assemble the dish ahead of time and put in the oven when you get home from work. Just let it come to room temp while the oven is preheating. You’ll need to add about 10 minutes or so to the cooking time if you bake it cold. Give it a try and then come back and let me know what you think!
I linked up at Foodie Friday, Monday Mania, Simple Lives Thursday, and Meatless Monday.