This is one of my family's favorite recipes! It is great for family dinners or even for guests, and is simple to prepare.
You can add your own special ingredients to make this recipe your own by varying the herbs, cheeses, and sauce.
Three Cheese Manicotti
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
1 (8 0z) pkg. Manicotti shells
4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups Ricotta or small curd Cottage Cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 (26 Oz) jars Pasta Sauce (or 4 cups home-made)
Save 1 cup Mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan for sprinkling on top
Mix the three cheeses, garlic, egg, and basil in large mixing bowl.
I halved the recipe.
Spread 2 cups sauce evenly on bottom of 9x13 inch baking pan.
No need to par boil the noodles, and it is much easier to stuff them if they are uncooked. An easy way to do this is to use a soup spoon and slide the filling off onto the top of the manicotti by inverting the spoon.....
Then mash it in (gently) with the tip of the spoon turned upright. Repeat until manicotti is full. Hold it over the bowl to catch the extra.
Hold the manicotti so you can feel the end in the palm of your hand. You'll know the manicotti is full by feeling it in your hand as it reaches the bottom.
Leave a little on top, like an ice cream cone and place it on top of the sauce in the pan, pressing down to nestle into the sauce.
Alternate the manicotti to give it a pleasing look, leaving a little space in between for proper cooking.
Spoon sauce over center of manicotti noodles, then sprinkle with the Mozzarella and Parmesan that was set aside.
Cover pan tightly with foil and place on center rack of oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (Test after 45 min. by piercing center of manicotti with a fork )
Your kitchen will smell delicious!
Serve with a salad and a smile!