There is nothing that smells better when baking, than Manicotti. The mere name sounds complicated, and might detour you from making this marvelous dish. It is easy to prepare, & so delicious. The hardest part, is stuffing the shells, & that isn’t difficult at all. I have tried many Manicotti recipes, and this is my favorite. I think it’s the combination of the ground beef & sausage, not to mention all the cheeses. Enjoy!
You will need:
2 TBS olive oil or Crisco Oil
1/4 to 1/2 c. chopped vidalia onion (opt)
*I use Onion Powder instead, we only like the flavor
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound lean hamburger
1/2 pound ground pork sausage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
14 manicotti shells (1 package)
2 c. ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. Romano cheese, grated
3 c. marinara sauce (divided)
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. all-purpose flour
2 TBS. chicken bouillon granules
2 c. half-and-half
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley
2 TBS. fresh chopped basil
1/2 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 to 2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese, grated
You can also substitute dry parsley & basil, but don’t use as much
Preheat oven to 350º F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Saute garlic for 1 minute and stir in ground beef and pork sausage. Cook until well browned and crumbled. Season with salt & pepper and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Add manicotti shells and parboil for half of the time recommended on the package (5 minutes). Drain and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from cracking.
To the ground beef/pork sausage mixture add the ricotta cheese and Romano. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Gently drain the manicotti shells and carefully stuff each one with the meat and cheese mixture; place shells in prepared dish. Lightly cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean, damp towel to prevent shells from cracking. See Note. Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and chicken bouillon. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble. Stir in half and half and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Pour or ladle the sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.Carefully pour or ladle marinara sauce over the white sauce, trying to layer the sauces without mixing. Sprinkle the basil (opt) over the marinara sauce. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan & Mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so the manicotti will set a bit.