Cheese stuffed manicotti is a classic Italian dish that is loved by many. It consists of large pasta tubes that are stuffed with a creamy mixture of ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. The pasta is then baked in a rich tomato sauce until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
No boiling is required to cook these noodles, they get cooked in the casserole dish with the sauce when it is bubbling in the oven.
Manicotti reminds me of the Italian version of enchiladas. The marinara sauce replaces the enchilada sauce, the manicotti shells replace the tortillas, and the cheese is used instead of beef/chicken. Although I'm sure, either of those would be great in this too. You get the idea!
Ingredients for Cheese Stuffed Manicotti
- Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided - Reduced-Fat Cheese has a lower calorie count and less saturated fat than regular cheese, but it may also have a different taste and texture. It also helps with keeping the calorie count pretty low for this recipe.
- Ricotta cheese is a type of soft, creamy cheese that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. It is made from the whey left over after making other cheeses, such as mozzarella and provolone.
- Parmesan cheese is a hard, granular cheese that originated in Italy. It is typically made from cow's milk and has a sharp, nutty flavor. Parmesan cheese is often grated and used as a topping for pasta dishes, salads, and other foods.
- Dried oregano - is a common herb used in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. It has a pungent, slightly bitter taste and a strong aroma
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Manicotti is a type of pasta that is shaped like large tubes or cylinders. It is usually made from wheat flour and water, and sometimes eggs are added to the dough. 1 Marinara Sauce - Store bought jarred marinara sauce is convenient to have at home for a quick meal. My favorite marinara sauce is always Rao’s because it has all clean ingredients on the back of the ingredients list
- See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make Cheese Stuffed Manicotti
Step 1: Combine 1 ½ cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti.
Recipe Tip: You can use a piping bag or a spoon to fill the manicotti tubes with the filling mixture. Gently push the filling into each tube until it is full. Repeat this process until all the tubes are filled.
Step 2: Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Step 3: Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil.
Variations for Manicotti
- If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can use a mixture of diced vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms, along with some crumbled feta cheese.
- You can also use a combination of seafood such as shrimp or crabmeat mixed with ricotta cheese and herbs for a delicious seafood manicotti.
- For more protein add spinach, cooked ground beef, or ground sausage to this mixture to add some flavor and texture. Another popular filling is a mixture of mashed potatoes and cheese, which is often used in the southern regions of Italy.
Assemble the dish and cover tightly with saran wrap. When ready to eat take the dish out of the fridge and bake according to the time and instructions listed below.
Let the dish cool completely and divide it into meal prep containers or Tupperware containers. When ready to eat, reheat the manicotti in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes.
It can last in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Manicotti is a fun shaped tubular pasta and you can stuff them with pretty much anything you want. Like cheese. All kinds of cheese.
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese (I used ricotta)
¼ cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
8 manicotti shells
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 cup water
- Combine 1 ½ cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti.
- Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce.
- Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
1 cheese stuffed shell is 6 smart points Points Plus: 8
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 manicotti
- Calories: 176
- Sugar: 4.7g
- Fat: 5.4g
- Saturated Fat: 2.4g
- Carbohydrates: 22.9g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Protein: 10g
Keywords: cheese manicotti