Manicotti Pasta with Cheese

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Everyone enjoys a fresh dish of Manicotti pasta oozing with tomato sauce and cheese.  Two or three served with a salad and dipping bread make for a satisfying meal.

When my mom made them she also served either meat balls or Italian sausage, sometimes putting sausage into the stuffing mixture.

Now days I see many recipes on the Internet for different kinds of stuffing and sauces, but I like to make our family's basic traditional cheese style using ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.  If serving only a few people, it  freezes well for future meals or lunches.

Manicotti photo null_zpscb344564.jpgManicotti Pasta with Cheese
12-14, an 8-ounce package of  manicotti
1  15-ounce container ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tabs. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. dry Italian herb mixture
3 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray or oil a baking sheet covered with foil.  Cook manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still firm to the bite, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer manicotti to the baking sheet and cool.
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Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix well.  Fill tubes with mixture with a spoon, or put mixture in a plastic bag, snip a corner, and squirt into tubes.

Spread a layer of sauce over the bottom of a sprayed the 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.  Arrange stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish, and spoon remaining sauce over pasta.
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Sprinkle the top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Bake manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 35-40 minutes. Let manicotti stand 5 minutes before serving. 
Serves 6-8.

Estimated cost: $9.00 or less; $1.50 per serving or less.

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