This dish holds a few special memories for me. While my husband and I were dating, he surprised me one night after work by making me manicotti... I think I was pretty convinced he was “the one” for me before that, but making me one of my favorite meals only further assured me that I needed to marry this man!! Manicotti is my all time favorite pasta dish. I’m not sure what attracts me to it, but I seem to always order it when we go to an Italian restaurant. The creamy ricotta cheese stuffed inside a pasta shell is so simple, yet so comforting. This is a dish I am always in the mood for and always satisfies.
8 oz package manicotti
15 oz whole-milk ricotta
3 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups marinara sauce
Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.
Meanwhile, combine ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brush 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13x9 baking dish. Spoon the marinara sauce into the prepared dish until the bottom of the pan is coated . Fill the manicotti with the cheese mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.
Source adapted from: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentis