Baked pasta dishes are always a hit with the family, which means they’re great for adding to your weeknight meal plan. With the help of this easy baked manicotti recipe, you can prep your pasta dinner ahead of time and freeze it until you’re ready to start cooking. Your family will love these cheesy stuffed noodles covered in sauce, and you’ll love how simple this no boil dish is to prepare!To make this dish into individual freezer meals, divide it among smaller foil containers. It is a great one for making as a freezer meal for one.
We also enjoy this Mexican Manicotti Bake recipe for a bit of a change. It’s packed full of flavour.
Baked Manicotti Recipe
- 3 cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 (8 ounce) box manicotti, uncooked
- 6 cups pasta sauce
- Start by spreading one cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
- In a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Using a piping bag, a spoon, or your fingers, stuff the cheese filling mixture into the center of the manicotti shells.
- Place stuffed manicotti on top of the pasta sauce that’s in the pan. Then pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pasta.
- Wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and top the pan with foil. Label the pan and place it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
- Be sure to write a reminder to remove the plastic wrap before baking.
- Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the pan and replace the foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
- The dish can also be baked from frozen if you increase cooking time to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil from the pan and continue baking until noodles are tender.
Is it Better to Freeze Manicotti Before or After Cooking?
Preparing pasta for freezer cooking can sometimes be confusing. While some pasta dishes require that you cook the noodles before freezing the dish, others don’t need to be boiled or baked before freezing. So how do you know whether you should cook the manicotti noodles before stuffing and freezing them?
The best way to figure out if your pasta needs to be cooked before freezing is to check the box. If you use no boil manicotti noodles, there is no need to pre-cook the pasta before placing the stuffed shells in the freezer. All you have to do is make sure the pasta is fully covered in sauce and they’ll soften as they bake in the oven.
But if your pasta is not no boil, you will need to prepare the noodles before you freeze them. No boil manicotti should be boiled until they are al dente. After that, allow the pasta to cool until it’s safe to touch and add the cheese filling before freezing your pasta dish.
How Long Does Manicotti Stay Fresh in the Fridge?
After your family enjoys your baked manicotti, you might have a few leftovers when dinner is over. Any leftover pasta should be stored in the refrigerator. You can cover the pan with plastic wrap and store it directly in the fridge. Or transfer the leftover pasta to an airtight container. When stored properly, your pasta will stay fresh for up to four days.
What is the Best Way to Reheat Manicotti?
When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover pasta, there are a couple of different ways you can reheat it. The best way to warm up your manicotti is to bake it in the oven. Place your leftover pasta in an oven-safe dish and cook it at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pasta is heated and the cheese is melted.
You can also reheat the leftover manicotti in the microwave. Heat the pasta for around one minute and check the temperature of the filling. If the center is still cold, return the pasta to the microwave and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Baked Manicotti Recipe Variation Ideas:
This quick and easy vegetarian lasagna is a great option for a meatless meal. But you can easily adjust the recipe to create a delicious dinner for your family with these simple additions.
- Use a meat sauce. If your family prefers to have meat with their pasta, you can easily add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage to the pasta sauce. Simply stir one pound of prepared meat into the sauce before adding it to the pan.
- Mix in some spinach. An easy way to add flavor and veggies to your pasta dinner is by mixing some spinach leaves into your cheese filling. You can use fresh or frozen spinach, depending on what you have on hand. If you plan to use frozen spinach, make sure to allow the vegetables to defrost before mixing them into the filling.
- Boil the pasta. To help speed up the prep work on this baked pasta dish, try using no boil pasta. But if you can’t find that type of pasta in your grocery store, traditional manicotti noodles will work, too. To prepare this baked pasta dish with traditional noodles, make sure to boil the pasta before adding the filling. You’ll want to cook it to slightly underdone so that when reheating, the noodles don’t get mushy.
- 3 cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 8 oz manicotti uncooked
- 6 cups pasta sauce
Spread one cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
In a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Using a piping bag, a spoon, or your fingers, stuff the cheese filling mixture into the manicotti shells.
Place stuffed manicotti on top of the pasta sauce in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pasta.
Wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and top the pan with foil. Label the pan and place it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the pan and replace the foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
The dish can also be baked from frozen if you increase cooking time to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Remove the foil from the pan and continue baking until noodles are tender.