Sunday, May 8, 2011

Three Cheese Manicotti

Nothing beats steaming dish of manicotti dripping with sauce and stuffed with cheese. Manicotti is a tube shaped pasta that can be stuffed with your choice of cheese and/or veggies and topped with marinara sauce.This has become our favorite dish at Olive Garden and sometimes we literally fight who would order this one. Though mostly we end up sharing :) 

There is no fixed book recipe to make this kind of pasta. In the simplest version, manicotti can be stuffed with ricotta cheese, salt and parsley. And then you can be as creative as possible by mixing different kinds of cheeses and veggies. I prefer veggies in stuffing to reduce amount of cheese - spinach, mushrooms and/or peppers can be used.

Makes 8 Manicotti
Preparation Time: 20 Minute + time to prepare sauce
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup veggies of your choice (I used 3 kinds of peppers)
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil leaves
1/2 tsp olive oil
8 Manicotti
Salt and pepper

1. Boil manicotti and keep them aside
2. finely chop veggies
3. Heat oil in skillet, add basil and chopped veggies. Cook them uncovered till crisp tender
4. In a mixing bowl, mix ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, cooked veggies, salt and pepper
5. Stuff manicotti with  cheese mixture
6. In a baking tray, spread 1/3 of sauce, place manicotti and top with remaining sauce and parmesan cheese
7. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minute or until cheese has melted and started bubbling
8. Serve hot, leftover can be frozen. 

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