My family is half Italian, so I grew up eating all things pasta. I can still hear my grandfather yelling “mangia” across the table at all the grandkids – basically telling us to eat up…or else…
It’s been awhile since I made a classic stuffed, baked pasta dish, so when I happened upon this recipe in the book, it screamed “make me…or else…”. The interesting deviance from every manicotti recipe I’ve seen is the addition of mint. Gave it a fresh flavor – but warning, a little goes a long way.
Gather the family around the table, grab some nice crusty bread, and mangia this one up!
6 ounces pork sausage or ground beef
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried mint (I used fresh since we have it growing out side, and used about a teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I added this…I think it’s been engrained in my psyche that you have to add nutmeg to any cheese stuffed pasta…)
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
14 manicotti shells
10 mushrooms (optional)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy if we’re getting technical…)
1/4 cup water
*Heat oven to 350F
1. Cook the manicotti shells per package directions. Remove when al-dente and place on a plate to cool.
2. Crumble the pork or ground beef into a frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until all the meat is browned, about 4 to5 minutes.
3. Transfer the meat into a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, mint and oregano and stir together.
4. Grate the mozzarella. Add about 3/4 cup to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
5. Add the egg to the mixture and stir again.
6. Using a teaspoon, spoon the ricotta filling into the shells. Place the shells in a 9×13 baking dish as you fill them.
7. Clean the mushrooms, if using, and roughly chop. Sprinkle them over the manicotti shells. Pour the sauce over the shells and then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the sauce.
8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and seal the edges.
9. Place in the oven for approximately 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.