Baked Manicotti from America’s Test Kitchen

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manicotti

I had never attempted manicotti before, just because of the horror stories that I had heard from others about how messy and frustrating it was to get the cheese mixture into the manicotti tubes. I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen on PBS and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did!!! Sweet Baboo had nothing but wonderful things to say with each bite. Music to my ears!

The only thing I did differently was to leave out the basil, plus I didn’t have any fresh parsley on hand so I used flakes. Didn’t seem to make a difference to me. Try this, try this, try this!!!!!!

Baked Manicotti Recipe – Cook’s Illustrated 1/2007

Baked Manicotti
Published: January 1, 2007
Serves 6 to 8

We prefer Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles for their delicate texture resembling fresh pasta. Note that Pasta Defino and Ronzoni brands contain only 12 no-boil noodles per package; the recipe requires 16 noodles. The manicotti can be prepared through step 5, covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

INGREDIENTS

Tomato Sauce
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (in juice)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes , optional
Table salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (see note above)

1. For the Sauce: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse 1 can tomatoes with their juice in food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining can tomatoes.

2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasoning with salt.

3. For the cheese filling: Combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl; set aside.

4. To assemble: Pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. (NOTE: I used about 4 cups of boiling water — it was more than an inch high, but the noodles weren’t completely covered otherwise.) Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.

5. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.

6. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element), and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.

STEP BY STEP: Manicotti 1, 2, 3

In our streamlined recipe, the ricotta filling is spread onto softened no-boil lasagna noodles, eliminating the slippery task of stuffing parboiled manicotti shells.

1. Soak no-boil lasagna noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes until pliable, using tip of paring knife to separate noodles and prevent sticking.

2. Using soupspoon, spread about 1/4 cup filling onto three-quarters of each noodle, leaving top quarter of noodle exposed.

3. Roll each noodle by hand and place in baking dish, seam side down.

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9 thoughts on “Baked Manicotti from America’s Test Kitchen

  1. Dawn

    Hi, =) This sounds like a really great recipe. From your intro, it seems that the whole point was to explain how to easily stuff the noodles. However, your Step by step Manicotti, 1,2,3 was NOT very clear at all. Nowhere did I see that we were to CUT OPEN the manicotti noodle…only that we were to add the filling ONTO the noodle and to use a paring knife to “seperate noodles and keep them from sticking” while IN the boiling water. Then you state to use a spoon and fill ONTO 3/4 of the noodles, leaving 1/4 exposed. Here, I’m assuming that the noodle has been sliced/cut open because in step 3 we’re to roll it back together and place seam side down…but since you never mention that the noodles should be cut open…many ppl will probably assume that they’re to put the filling ONTO a CLOSED noodle. . Just wanted to let you know that this could get really confusing, especially to new cooks. You repeated the same directions TWICE but *both times failed to mention that the noodles should be cut OPEN, and THEN filled. 😦 — Hope this helps someone.

  2. Dawn

    Ok. MY mistake. (sheepish grin) I see that they’re using LASAGNA noodles! rather than manicotti noodles to make the manicotti! That makes MUCH more sense. (lol) And all the while I thought they were using manicotti noodles! I suppose I should just get to bed already. It’s after 3 a.m. LOL.

  3. Cintra

    I saw this show today and thanks to you, I found the recipe. I really did not want to sign up on their test kitchen web page. I tried that once and a free copy of their mag. was sent to me and then they sent another one and they began to charge me for past issues I never ordered. After 3 months and 3 emails to them, they corrected the problem.
    I do enjoy most of their recipes, with some corrections. I would also leave out the basil.
    I also love to sew and have forty five years of sewing experience. If you ever need help on solving any sewing problems, just email me. The past thirty years I dealt with wedding gowns. Thanks, Cintra

  4. Joyce

    Loved it! Easy! I ran out of Ricotta, only had 1.5 cups or so, forgot the parm inside, made the sauce with 1/2 the tomatoes and same amount of spices….. all those were mistakes but the family still loved it! Thank you SO much for putting the recipe up!

  5. Elizabeth Milwee

    FANTASTIC!, BUT THE NEXT TIME I’LL TRY IT WITH 1/2 OR LESS OF THE CHEESE AND A POUND OF 90% LEAN GROUND MEAT AND THE REST OF THE CHEESE ON THE SAUCE LAYERS.
    I MAKE MANICOTTI WITH ONLY MEAT, SPICES, ONIONS AND PEPPERS. NO EGGS BUT A SMALL AMOUNT OF MOZZARELLA CHEESE MIXED IN THE MEAT BEFORE IT COOLS AS A BINDER FOR THE FILLING. I PUT THE 3 ITALIAN CHEESES OVER THE BOTTOM LAYER AND TOP LAYER OF SAUCE. IT ALWAYS DISAPPEARS INTO MY FAMILY’S STOMACHS! IT’S BEEN M U C H EASIER SINCE I FOUND THE NO BOIL LASAGNA PASTA. ROLLING IS PREFERABLE TO STUFFING!!
    BY THE WAY THE SAUCE RECIPE IS GREAT! (I USE A JAR OF SPAGHETTI SAUCE IN MINE, I KNOW, CHEATING, BUT QUICK! NOW THAT WE’RE RETIRED WITH MORE TIME I’LL USE YOUR SAUCE RECIPE!)

  6. Thanks! I was looking for a way to use up my leftover ricotta and lasagna noodles. I was getting tired of lasagna. This manicotti recipe is perfect!

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