These “not stuffed” manicotti may be a little easier to make than the traditional filled pasta tubes we’re used to, but this recipe still requires an investment of time. Luckily, once you are committed, you might as well make enough for the future. Recruit the family to help! It’s actually fun when you have extra hands to keep the assembling process running smoothly. These instructions are fashioned so that you can make one dinner now, and at least one more for the future!
Ingredients for Italian Sausage and Cheese (Not) Stuffed Manicotti
NOTE: This recipe makes two 9 x 13, four 8″ x 8″ or even one 9″ x 13″ and two 8″ x 8″ pans of manicotti. Cook and eat one tonight and freeze the other(s) for an easy weeknight dinner!
- 1 double recipe Basic Tomato Sauce
- Two 9 oz pkgs. (Barilla) no boil lasagna noodles
- 2 C. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
- 32 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2.25 C. grated parmesan cheese
- 10 oz. cream cheese
- 2 egg yokes
- 1.25 lbs. Italian pork sausage
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1 t. ground pepper
Make a double recipe of Basic Tomato Sauce.
STEP 2 – MAKE THE FILLING
Brown sausage in a skillet and put aside to cool. Thoroughly mix ricotta, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, egg yokes, nutmeg and pepper. Add cooled, drained sausage to mixture.
STEP 3 – ASSEMBLY (Helpers make all the difference here!)
Instructions are for two 9″ x 13″ pans.
- Prep your baking dishes by spraying them with cooking spray. Spread 1.5 cups of tomato sauce evenly on the bottom of each pan. (If you are making a different combination of pan sizes, divide sauce accordingly.)
- Pour about 1″ of boiling water into a 9 x 13 pan, add about half of the noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until bendable (about 5 minutes) separating the noodles with the tip of a knife or tongs as they soak. This will help keep them from sticking to each other. Remove the noodles and place them on a cooling rack. (While some of the family can start on the next step, one person can begin boiling and prepping the second half of the noodles. If you don’t have helpers, assemble one pan completely, then soak and assemble the second pan. Otherwise, the noodles will dry out and become hard to work with.)
- One at a time, using a standard spoon, spread approximately 3 tablespoons of the filling onto the lower 3/4 of each noodle and then roll from the lower corners toward the exposed top quarter of the noodle.
- Nestle each tube, seam side down, in baking sheets on top of tomato sauce, finishing with two rows of tubes in each pan.
5. Top each row evenly with the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle each pan evenly with 1 C. mozzarella and 1/4 C. parmesan. (Again, if you are making a different combination of pan sizes, divide sauce and cheeses accordingly.)
6. Cover baking dish(es) for the future tightly with plastic wrap, then foil and freeze.
7. Cover other baking dish with foil and bake at 375° for 40 minutes, remove foil, turn oven to broil setting and bake until cheese is golden brown. (Watch it carefully!)