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Three Cheese and Sausage Manicotti Recipe

April Freeman
With three different kinds of cheese and the savory flavors of Italian sausage, our recipe for Three Cheese and Sausage Manicotti is the perfect choice to serve to guests or to someone for a special birthday dinner. Whether you make it a day or two ahead of time or create it the day of the bash, this meal is a great way to celebrate a unique person in your life.
Prep Time 1 hr
Baking Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 Servings

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Colander
  • Skillet
  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces Manicotti Pasta
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 teaspoon MInced Garlic
  • 15 ounces Diced Tomatoes in a Can undrained
  • 6 ounces Tomato Paste from a can
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 16 ounces Cottage Cheese
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pc Egg

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt to a boil. When the water boils, add the pasta to the pot and boil for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the pasta to cool it.
  • As the pasta is cooking, brown the Italian sausage in a skillet over medium heat, draining the grease when the meat is fully cooked and no more pink areas remain. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir the tomato paste and the can of diced tomatoes into the meat along with the basil, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes or until it is thickened.
    The tomato paste and diced onion are then added.
  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 by 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheese. Beat the egg and stir this into the cheesy mixture.
    The cheese and egg are mixed in a separate bowl.
  • Spread half of the meat and tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Using a teaspoon, spoon the cheese mixture into the cooked manicotti. This may take some time, but use care to not tear the pasta noodles as you stuff them. Set each stuffed manicotti in the pan as you fill it, making two rows of noodles in the pan.
  • Top the manicotti with the rest of the tomato sauce mixture, spreading it to cover the noodles. Reserve the remainder of the mozzarella.
  • Bake the manicotti uncovered in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Top the pasta with the reserved mozzarella cheese and bake it for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Let the manicotti cool for about 5 minutes before serving. To save the leftovers, cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat, you can either bake the whole pan, covered with foil, in a 350 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or you can microwave a single portion on a plate for about 45 seconds. You will probably want to cover the manicotti with a paper towel when you microwave it to avoid splatters.

Notes

For this recipe, you definitely do not want to overcook your pasta. You want the noodles to be cooked somewhat soft, but if they are too soft they will not hold up to the process of filling the noodles. Cook the manicotti for 7 to 8 minutes and no longer, and cool the cooked noodles rapidly by running cold water over them.
Kitchen Notes:
If you do not have Italian sausage on hand, you can create it yourself with plain ground pork, beef, chicken, or turkey. Simply combine the ground meat with ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon onion powder. Stir this into the meat and brown as normal.
This dish can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days in a covered container. Just heat the oven and bake as directed. Also, you can freeze an unbaked manicotti dish by wrapping it in two layers of aluminum foil and freezing it for up to three months. Allow the dish to thaw in the refrigerator overnight the day before you plan to bake it.
Keyword Main Course, Recipe, Three Cheese and Sausage Manicotti

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