Homemade Manicotti

Homemade Manicotti

While I grew up in an Italian household, I never made homemade manicotti, that is until I met my husband.  I still remember the first time I made manicotti.  My husband (then boyfriend) and I had just gotten back from Mexico, where I had taken him for his birthday.  When we got back he asked me if I would do one more thing for his birthday…

My immediate thought was what WHAT?!?!  I just took you on an all expense paid trip to Mexico!  What more could you want?!?!  I do not have a very good poker face, so I think he guessed pretty quickly what the thoughts running through my head were…

So, he gave me some puppy dog eyes and asked me sweetly to make homemade manicotti for his birthday.  I begrudgingly agreed, after all how hard could it be?

Manicotti is a labor of love. 

Stuffing the cheese filling in all of those noodles is tedious. They kept tearing on me.  My hands were covered, I had the cheese mix on my face and hair. I still have no idea how it got there.  Cursing his name under my breath, as well as my own for agreeing to make this; I was relieved that I finished in time to take a shower before dinner. 

When I came downstairs he had the lights turned down low and tapered candles lit on the dining room table.  It was very romantic, and the manicotti was delicious and surprisingly worth the frustration of stuffing all those noodles (I have since learned a few tricks to make this easier!)!  

At the end of dinner, he took my hand and got down on one knee.  He said I have one more thing I would like for my birthday, will marry me?  He then took a little box out of his pocket and with tears in my eyes, I said yes!

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Serving Suggestions: garlic bread, red wine, side salad

Tips for making Homemade Manicotti

  • You can use tomato sauce out of a can but homemade bolognese is so much better, check out our recipe here.
  • The best way to fill the manicotti shells is to put the cheese filling in a plastic bag, snip the corner and squees the filing into the shell. 
  • Another trick is to make sure the noodle is under cooked so it is less likely to tear. 
  • Some also recommend not cooking the noodle at all and letting it bake in the oven.
Homemade Manicotti


Homemade Manicotti with Bologenese Sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 481 kcal


Main Dish

  • 4 cups marinara sauce or you can use homemade bolognese sauce, highly recommend!
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 8 oz manicotti shells or if manicotti are not available use large shells

Cheese Mixture

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz spinach fresh


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Boil water to cook the noodle until they al dente. They will cook more in the oven.
  • In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the cheese mixture together.
  • Layer a thin of the tomato sauce on the casserole dish.
  • Begin stuffing the manicotti noodles and placing them onto the sauce. A
  • Continue filling the noodles until the casserole dish is full. Cover with remaining sauce.
  • Top with the additional cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Place in oven and cook for about 40 minutes until the cheese on top has browned.

Tips for the manicotti noodles!

  • Stuff the manicotti noodles is to place the cheese mix into a plastic bag and snip the corner. Hold the noodle under your hand while you squeeze the filing inside the shell.
  • Do not let the cooked noodles sit too long after they are done cooking as they flatten and lose their shape and start breaking.
Keyword manicotti, manicotti beef recipe, manicotti recipe

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