Prep 1 hr
Cook 15 mins
A rich mix of delicious cheeses with a smooth, hearty filling. A kick of Italian old school and the flavor of smoked cheese. You can't go wrong with this old favorite with a twist. I made this recipe from memory. I got the original from my mom and kicked it up a few notches. This is great for romantic dinner or a family favorite. I don't use measurements. Real food has to be properly eye-balled and mixed to your personal flavor.
- 12 manicotti
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 cup pre-shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese, pre-shredded
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 3⁄4 cup parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 8 ounces tomato paste
- 4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 cup fresh mushrooms
- 4 ounces black olives, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1⁄2 tablespoon oregano
- 1⁄2 tablespoon basil
- 1⁄2 tablespoon parsley
- 1⁄4 tablespoon salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brown 1 lb. of Italian Sausage. Drain (not too much, though. A good spot of sausage grease helps to flavor the filling.).
- Add Manicotti noodles to salted boiling water. (About 1 teaspoons salt and 1 TBSP olive oil to 1 quart water.) Boil noodles until they are al dente. They should be a bit stiff. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Mix in a bowl: Sausage, 2/3 mozzarella cheese, 2/3 Gouda cheese, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/2 tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, onion, olives, 2/3 of all spices. Mix sausage, tomato sauce/paste, Spices and ricotta cheese until your mixture is even and mildly thin. Add all additional ingredients listed above until it's thick enough to spoon into the noodles.
- Note: Mozarella and Gouda are the thickening agents in the noodles. The thicker your recipe is with these cheeses, the more gooey your filling will turn out at the end. (Gooey is good!).
- In a separate bowl combine left over ingredients, except for Gouda and mozzarella. This should be a thinner sauce, as it will pour over the noodles.
- Stuff noodles, about 2 per person depending on size of party, until full end to end. Place noodles side by side in baking dish. Pour sauce over noodles, covering them evenly. Sprinkle last amount of Gouda and mozzarella over Manicotti. More cheese on top means thicker cheese crust.
- Place in oven for 40-45 minutes. Look for the cheese on top to be fully melted and slightly crusted. Serve hot with Garlic Bread and, my preference is steamed, buttered and spiced asparagus.