The Best Cheese Manicotti

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“I love Italian food, and I love cooking for my friends at college, so that's how this dish evolved. I don't really use any written recipe when I make it, so some of the seasoning measurements are approximate. This makes seven 2 manicotti shell servings, which is a lot, but it tastes great even as leftovers.”
1hr 5mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 (14 count) box manicotti
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (Bertolli’s Burgundy Wine is the best)
  • 1 (30 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese (more if you like a lot of cheese)
  • 14 cup shredded parmesan cheese (not grated)
  • italian seasoning
  • basil
  • salt and pepper (optional)
  • minced garlic (optional)


  1. Cook the manicotti shells according to the directions on the box.
  2. Drain in colander and set aside to dry.
  3. Mix all the ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, and 1/4 cup parmesan in a bowl.
  4. Add an extra handful of mozzarella and a little more parmesan if you like it cheesier.
  5. I like a lot of flavor in my manicotti so I just keep adding the basil and Italian seasoning until I think it’s enough.
  6. If you don’t like a lot of seasoning, just put 1 tsp.
  7. of each in.
  8. If not, just keep adding until it's seasoned to your taste.
  9. You can also add a dash of salt and pepper if you like or a little bit of garlic.
  10. Preheat oven to 350.
  11. Once the shells are drained and the cheese is mixed together, begin stuffing the shells.
  12. Be careful because they have a tendency to split.
  13. Pour about half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread evenly before you place the shells in the dish.
  14. Once all the shells arranged in the baking dish, pour the remainder of the marinara sauce on top.
  15. Then add any leftover cheese on top of the sauce.
  16. Sprinkle with basil and Italian seasoning.
  17. Cover with aluminum foil.
  18. Bake for about 30 minutes.

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