The Ultimate Cheese Manicotti Recipe
Manicotti, a classic Italian dish, is a delightful combination of pasta, cheese, and sauce. This dish is a favorite among many due to its rich, creamy, and savory flavors. The Ultimate Cheese Manicotti Recipe we are about to explore is a simple yet delicious version that will surely impress your family and friends. This recipe is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a festive gathering. Let’s dive into the world of Italian cuisine and learn how to make this mouthwatering dish.
What is Manicotti?
Manicotti, which translates to “little sleeves” in Italian, is a type of pasta that is typically stuffed with cheese, meat, or vegetables. It is then baked in a tomato or béchamel sauce. The dish is popular in Italian-American cuisine and is often served as a main course. The most common filling is a mixture of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, but variations can include spinach, mushrooms, or ground meat.
Ingredients for The Ultimate Cheese Manicotti Recipe
For this recipe, we will be focusing on a cheese-filled manicotti. Here are the ingredients you will need:
- 14 manicotti shells
- 4 cups of ricotta cheese
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 3 cups of marinara sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil
Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s get started with the cooking process. Follow these steps to create the ultimate cheese manicotti:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Cook the manicotti shells according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix until well combined.
- Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce at the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Fill each manicotti shell with the cheese mixture. You can use a spoon or a piping bag for this step. Arrange the filled shells in the baking dish.
- Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the manicotti. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Let the manicotti rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with extra parsley if desired.
Interesting Facts About Manicotti
Manicotti is a dish that has a rich history and interesting facts associated with it. Here are a few:
- The term “manicotti” is often used interchangeably with “cannelloni” in the United States. However, in Italy, these are two distinct dishes. Cannelloni is typically made with fresh pasta sheets rolled around the filling, while manicotti uses pre-made pasta tubes.
- Manicotti is traditionally served on Christmas Day in many Italian-American households.
- The dish is believed to have originated in the Campania region of Italy, which is also known for its other famous dishes like pizza and spaghetti.
The Ultimate Cheese Manicotti Recipe is a testament to the beauty of Italian cuisine. It’s a dish that’s rich, comforting, and full of flavor. The combination of creamy ricotta, gooey mozzarella, and tangy marinara sauce is simply irresistible. Plus, it’s a versatile recipe that you can easily customize to your liking. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress. So why not give it a try? Buon appetito!