Beef & Cheese Manicotti

Friday, February 11, 2011

First off, my lunch today was incredible. I'm not sure what happened but I think the flavors in my Basked Pastina Casserole made sweet love overnight and tasted so good when heated up! Yum, yum, yum. I will be making that again.

Tonight we will be tackling Giada's (We're on a first name basis now...mmmk?) Beef and Cheese Manicotti. Here is what you need to purchase or have on hand:

1/2 pound ground beef (Here's my shout out for buying beef that has never been given antibiotics or added growth hormones. It is delicious and it's just one of the many ways you can increase your humanity.)
1/2 onion
1 container whole-milk ricotta cheese (This is probably just me but I had no idea what this was and for some reason I thought it would be with the milk? It is by the cheese! I know, I know, no brainer.)
mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese (Does anyone know why Parmesan has to be capitalized?)
Parsley (fresh or dried...totally up to you)
Garlic (2 cloves or 1/4 tsp powder)
Olive Oil
Marinara Sauce
The grand total for this meal, if you don't have anything and buy beef that is a little bit more expensive, is $27.16 which is $4.52 a serving. Still not too bad.

While attempting to make Beef and Cheese Manicotti I learned what women are talking about when they say they have been SLAVING away all day in the kitchen. Ok, so I was only making this for about 2 hours but it was kind of hard work! I blame Giada with her sneak attack steps...we may have to part ways because sometimes she really frustrates me! Enough of the ranting and raving! Let's get down to business!

Start heating up your burner. I put mine somewhere between medium and high. Chop up a half an onion and mix into a skillet with 1/2 pound of ground beef. It should look like this!
Take a moment and enjoy this step, because it is going to get a whole lot more complicated.

Saute, baby! Just make sure your meat is cooked and the onions are soft but not mushy. Nobody likes mushy onions.Then remove from heat and let it cool.

In a bowl, mix:
the entire 15 ounce container of whole-milk ricotta cheese,
1 cup of mozzarella,
1/4 cup of Parmesan,
2 tablespoons of parsley,
1/4 teaspoon of any sort of garlic you have on hand, I threw in a mixture of powder and minced.
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt,
1 teaspoon pepper.
It's kind of tough to mix but just make sure everything is held together by the ricotta
Combine the conglomeration of goodness with the meat. Save yourself the stress and just work it in a little at a time.
Turn the oven to 350F and get your water boiling for your mannicotti pasta. A pinch of salt will speed this up. Also I recommend using two medium sized pots. It is easier to handle!
Coat a thin layer of olive oil onto a baking sheet. This will be the cooling station for the prepared pasta.
Plop that manicotti in and let those suckers cook! You want them to be soft but not to fall apart. It seems to take about 6 minutes from the time they hit the water for them to reach that state. While you're waiting, grab a decent sized glass dish and lube (thin layer) it up in Olive Oil. Now smother the bottom in Marinara Sauce. (Careful, it comes out fast and if you aren't paying attention it may just end up on your floor!)

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the cooling station. (If you put them all in around the same time you should be able to just do it one after another, so that by the time you are finished the first piece should be cool.)

Time to stuff! DON'T PANIC! I learned a trick! Apparently the easiest way to do this is to cut the seam! It stays together by all the sticky deliciousness inside. Follow my picture demonstration:
I know it's not the prettiest, but that is why the next step is so important!

Smother in Marinara, sprinkle about 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 of Parmesan.

STEP 10:
Pop in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes and.....voila!

I thought this was delicious! However, it takes a lot of time to make. I would make this again and I love that all you really need to add are some veggies and fruit and you have a really good meal. Apparently a decent shortcut to manicotti is to take a string cheese, wrap it in meat and stuff the shell. I may try that next time, but I have a feeling that it won't be quite as good.

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  1. That looks delicious!! I will have to try it, and you will have to make it when I come out!!

  2. This is pretty delicious. It earned a 7/10 on the Tom's Tastebud scale! I'll make you the casserole...that was so good and I'm sad my leftovers are gone. :(

  3. Ok that looked pretty scrumptious too! I am so excited for our cooking adventures as soon as I finally get out there!