Beefy Manicotti

“I don’t like manicotti,” said my obviously unhappy husband.  I knew that, but I had a surprise up my sleeve.  “It’s beef manicotti,” I replied, and suddenly he looked a bit more pleased.  But not as pleased as he was after he took the first bite.  Home run.

beef manicotti pan

First, I made a batch of marinara using my favorite (and really the only one I use) marinara recipe.

Filling for the shells:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1/2 t. basil
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1 cup marinara

Brown the ground beef with the onion, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Allow to cool slightly.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Cook 1 box manicotti shells in salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Place a layer of marinara on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Stuff the shells with the meat mixture and place them in a single layer on top of the marinara.  Top the whole thing with a ladle or two of marinara, another cup of mozzarella, and a cup of grated parmesan.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

And then you get this:

beef manicotti plate

Delicious man-friendly, meat-filled manicotti along side one of my favorite salads — Italian Chopped Salad by Giada De Laurentiis

  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce (from 1/2 head)
  • 2 cups finely chopped radicchio (from 1/2 large head)
  • 1/2 cup drained canned white beans, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and chopped

Whisk the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil to blend. Add the lettuce, radicchio, beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with more salt and pepper, and serve.

Delicious dinner, plus I had enough meat mixture and marinara leftover to make an 8×8 lasagna.  Score!

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