Since we’re all friends here, I have a confession to make:
There’s not much I wouldn’t do for stuffed pasta.
Tortellini, ravioli, jumbo shells, you name it; if cheese and pasta are involved you can bet that I’ve got my plate out, waiting to be served.
But despite this little obsession of mine, I hardly ever have time to make stuffed pasta at home, and my time (and life!) is only getting more chaotic as we approach the end of the year.
This means I tend to take the “easy” way out and get my fancy pasta fix at my favorite Italian restaurant.
However, we all know that eating out every night isn’t always possible, especially now that the holidays are approaching. Gotta save some of that $$, amirite?!
So, I figured it was high time that I honed my own “Stuffed Pasta Cooking Skills” (official term), especially since Bertolli just introduced their new Riserva line – which just happens to include a Parmigiano-Regginao Marinara sauce. And the best part? Having a high quality and ready-made marinara sauce
And the best part? Having a high quality and ready-made marinara sauce reduces the typical cook time of my favorite pasta recipes in half.
And a faster cooking time = more time for me to plan what to do with all the money all I’ll be saving for the holidays by not going to the restaurant.
The pasta itself turned out amazingly well. It was a little tricky to fill the manicotti noodles with all the ricotta cheesy goodness, but being the classy girl that I am, I ended up using a spoon and my fingers.
It might not have been the cleanest way to go about it, but it certainly got the job done – just like the pros do at the restaurant!
And the Bertolli sauce was the perfect touch to liven up this dish.
How do you stuff manicotti shells?
Personally, I like to fill manicotti by hand. I use a spoon (or sometimes even my fingers) and gently feed in the cheese mix into the manicotti. Once I’ve filled one end of the pasta, I flip the manicotti and fill the other end.
However, some readers have asked for easier (or cleaner!) methods for filling manicotti – and, in return, other readers responded with their suggestions.
For example, reader Diane suggested that you can pipe the cheese filling into the manicotti by putting it in a Ziploc bag (quart sized) and cutting a hole in one of the corners (just like you would for icing). This way you can easily fill the manicotti without all the mess.
Sher, another reader, had another great idea for filling manicotti. Once the pasta has cooled, you can cut a line down the side of the manicotti, fill it with filling, then press the manicotti back together. The filling will help “glue” the manicotti back together. Then you can just place the manicotti seam side down in the baking dish to hide the line.
notes & tips for cheese manicotti
- I’m a big fan of Bertolli, but it’s okay if you don’t have any on hand. This recipe can be made with any type of marinara or spaghetti sauce. I’ve also used this Homestyle Meat Sauce and loved it!
More great pasta recipes
Easy Cheesy Manicotti
Bring a restaurant classic to your dinner table with this easy cheese manicotti recipe. With tender noodles, rich red sauce, and the delicious combination of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, this dish makes a perfect weeknight dinner and great leftovers.
Cook manicotti per package instructions, drain, and lay on parchment paper to dry and cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Using a spoon (and your fingers!) gently feed the cheese mix into the cooled manicotti noodles. Tip: pack one end until full, then turn the manicotti around and fill the other end.
- Place filled manicotti on top of sauce in prepared baking dish. Arrange manicotti in a single layer. When all manicotti are filled, cover the tops with the renaming Bertolli Riserva sauce.
Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (optional). Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Serve cheese manicotti immediately with more parsley on top as garnish.