You’re going to need to sit down for this one.
Because tonight’s recipe is going to knock you off your feet!
Growing up, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s cheese manicotti: oversized tubes of pasta, stuffed with cheese and baked to bubbly golden grown perfection. I have fond memories of sitting on the kitchen counter as a little girl, and helping my mom stuff the manicotti noodles. I can still smell the yummy ricotta cheese and freshly boiled pasta.
So, as someone who’s primary love language is…cooking… I decided that I wanted to treat a special gentleman to my favorite childhood meal.
And let’s just say…they were a hit.
And the best part, is that this recipe makes a lot. So you can have leftovers for the week, plus some to pop in the freezer for weeks down the road!
Unfortunately, as with all roll-your-eyes-to-the-back-of-your-head delicious recipes, this is not Specific Carb Diet friendly…or gluten free…or vegan. BUT, it is something that is well worth the effort.
Here’s what you need: (Makes one pan (14 stuffed manicotti), enough for seven people — or two with a plethora of leftovers!)
1 box of manicotti noodles, cooked per package directions
1 pint ricotta cheese
1 8 oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese for the top
2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
4 Tbsp EVOO, divided
1 – 32oz jar of tomato sauce
Large stock pot
Good Chef’s Knife
Large, nonstick pan
11 x 17 baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the manicotti noodles in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions. (Should be 7 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized mixing bowl, combing the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, two eggs, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix well to combine.
Next, heat 2 Tbsp EVOO in a large, nonstick frying pan. Saute your onion and garlic with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until translucent. Then, add 2 more Tbsp EVOO and your ground turkey, and cook thoroughly, until there is no longer any pink. Finally, stir in your jar of pasta sauce, and set aside.
Next, spray the bottom of a 11×17 baking dish with olive oil cooking spray, and the spoon 1/4 cup of the turkey sauce mixture into the bottom of the pan and spread it out evenly.
Stuff each manicotti noodle with 3 Tbsp of the cheese mixture, and place the stuffed noodles in two even rows in your baking dish.
Once they are all stuffed, pour your turkey sauce mixture evenly over top, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, as well as any leftover ricotta cheese mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and beautiful.
Serve two per person to start, along with a vegetable and salad! (I made roasted broccoli, yum!)
OH MY GOSH. This meal is fit for a king! Seriously, wow – what a treat!
Growing up, manicotti was always my favorite meal. There’s something so whimsically comforting about giant tubes of pasta stuffed with rich and creamy ricotta cheese! It melts in your mouth, and the tomato sauce just rounds it all out with this homey, hug-on-a-plate flavor from our imaginary Italian grandmother, or nona.
I’m telling you — close your eyes, take a bite, and you’ll be transported to a villa in Italy overlooking a vineyard. (Pre-COVID days, of course.)
And the leftovers are no joke. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Because, much like lasagna, it saves like a dream. Except this form of pasta/cheese/sauce — is incredibly fridge/freezer-friendly, as it’s already in individual servings: the manicotti noodles themselves!
So do yourself a favor: make this dish! I promise, your tastebuds will be singing!!!!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITALIAN DISH? Pizza? Spaghetti? Fettuccini Alfredo? Minestrone soup? Let me know!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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