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Manicotti with Meat Sauce is manicotti stuffed with three cheeses, smothered in a homemade meat sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. A comforting and satisfying meal that is made simpler with my no boil pasta trick!
I can't hide my love and devotion for pasta and cheese. So it's a no brainer that I am completely in love with this manicotti recipe. It makes a perfect Sunday Dinner, and while your making it, you can make an extra and freeze it for an easy no fuss dinner during the week. This recipe is a delicious Italian dish that will comfort the whole family. Although, I have never been to Italy YET, I like to think this is what a little piece of Italy would taste like. Except in my own kitchen!
Manicotti with Meat Sauce Ingredients
- Manicotti Shells
- Hot Water
- Ricotta Cheese
- Shredded Mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan
- Ground Beef
- Olive Oil
- Canned Crushed tomatoes
- Italian Seasoning
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
No Boil Pasta Trick for Manicotti
I have a simple trick for making manicotti without having to boil the noodles. First, add the pasta tubes to a large deep sided baking dish. Then either use hot water from a tea kettle or the hottest water out of your tap. Pour the water over the noodles. Let the noodles sit for 20 minutes, flipping them over half way through if the noodles are not completely submerged. After 20 minutes, you will see the tubes have softened a bit, but are not completely cooked. The pasta will be perfectly al dente for easy filling. Pull the pasta out of the dish or drain the water. Time to make some manicotti!
Alternately, you can boil the manicotti for 2 minutes less than the al dente directions listed on the package.
How to Make Manicotti with Meat Sauce
Step 1: Make the Sauce
While the noodles are soaking in the hot water, make the sauce. Brown the hamburger and onion together until beef is no longer pink. Drain any grease. Add in the olive oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Let sauce simmer for at least 15 minutes or until you are ready to assemble the casserole.
Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Filling
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, mozzarella, parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the mixture to a piping bag or zip top bag.
Step 3: Fill the Tubes
Snip the end of the piping bag and squeeze the filling into the pasta tubes until the tube is plump and cheese is at the ends of the tube.
Step 4: Assemble the Dish
Add half of the sauce into a 9x13 deep sided casserole dish. Place the stuffed manicotti on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, then top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with aluminum foil.
Step 5: Bake it!
Bake the manicotti covered for 45 minutes in a 375° oven. Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cheese is gooey, a touch golden and casserole is bubbling away. Let the casserole rest for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve and Enjoy!
Tips for Making a Perfect Manicotti Recipe
- Do not oversoak or over boil the pasta. If it is overcooked and too soft, it will be nearly impossible to stuff without the pasta tearing.
- Shred and grate your own cheese. It melts so much more smoothly than store bought shredded cheese that is coated with anti-caking agents.
- Be careful not to overstuff the pasta, the tube will crack and you will run out of filling before all the tubes are stuffed.
- Let the casserole rest before serving. I also am impatient when it comes to good food, however, letting the casserole rest is very important. The filling needs to set up while its resting so it don't all ooze out when you serve the casserole. Plus, nobody wants a burnt mouth. They won't be able to taste all the goodness of this dish!
- Add more flavor and substitute half of the ground beef with ground Italian Sausage.
- Make it easier and use your favorite jarred pasta sauce. I won't judge!
Manicotti with Meat Sauce Make Ahead Directions
- Prepare the manicotti dish as directed above.
- Once the casserole is fully assembled, let it cool.
- Then cover it tightly with plastic wrap or tight fitting lid.
- Place in fridge for 2-3 days until ready to use, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Bake as directed from fridge.
- Thaw and bake as directed or bake from frozen and add an extra 30 minutes to the covered baking time.
More Make Ahead Pasta Options
- Baked Rigatoni Casserole
- Cheesy Spaghetti Bake
- Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Baked Penne Casserole
- Chicken and Noodles
With Side Suggestions
- Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Easy Peasy Garlic Bread
- Roasted Asparagus
- Garlic Parmesan Focaccia Bread
- Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Broccoli
Give yourself and your family a comforting dinner with this Manicotti with Meat Sauce recipe and let me know how much everyone enjoys it in the comments below and give it a star rating! Pictures encouraged on Instagram with the hashtag #heathershomemadekitchen You can also follow me on Social Media to see what other crazy things my family and I are doing! If you like what you see, please share with your friends and family!
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later!
Manicotti with Meat Sauce
- 8 oz manicotti, 12 tubes
- water for soaking
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes, canned
- ¼ cup water, to rinse can
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon basil, dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 30 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Add pasta tubes to large deep sided dish. Pour hot water from tap or tea kettle over pasta to cover at least half way up pasta.
- Let pasta soak for 20 minutes, flipping over half way through.
- Remove pasta or drain water after 20 minutes.
- Brown beef and onion together until beef is no longer pink and onions are translucent. Drain any grease.
- Add olive oil and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes.
- Let sauce simmer on low for at least 15 minutes or until ready to assemble.
- Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Add filling to piping bag or zip top bag. Snip corner.
- Pipe filling into pasta until the tubes are plump and the filling is at the ends.
Assemble and Bake
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Place half of the meat sauce in a deep sided 9x13 casserole dish.
- Lay stuffed manicottis on top of sauce.
- Pour remaining meat sauce over pasta.
- Top sauce with 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup grated parmesan.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted and browning.
- Let rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Michael Robert Michael says
Well Heather your recipe looked good just glossing over it and I think that I will taste good that being said your recipe called for 2 cups of mozzarella in filling and 1 cup of parm. 30oz of ricotta which was way more than needed also no where else in the recipe did it say that the whole thing was to be topped with another cup of parm. and 2 more cups of mozzarella. I am sure that the whole thing will taste alright but come on you should proof read your posts.
Heather Warburton says
Thanks for letting me know. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post and read the entire recipe from the recipe card it is all correct. Hope you try it! It's cheesy but so good!