Baked Manicotti (Bolognese Ragu)

"This filling is very flavorful and a sauce that's delicious, yet subtle enough to compliment the pasta without stealing the show. The recipe will allow for extra sauce in case you wish to serve non-stuffed pasta as well. Or it makes terrific leftovers."
photo by bluemoon downunder photo by bluemoon downunder
photo by bluemoon downunder
Ready In:
1hr 5mins
12 manicotti




  • I suggest making the filling a few hours ahead of time to allow the flavors of cheese, garlic and herbs to fully meld.
  • Beat the eggs and combine them with the Ricotta.
  • Fold in the grated cheese, basil, parsley and Prosciutto until all is well combined.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to use.
  • Using lasagna noodle (if packaged cook to al dente) add enough stuffing on one end and roll up jelly roll style.
  • Lay into baking pan that has been greased or coated with cooking spray.
  • I use a 9x14" pan which perfectly holds 12 manicotti: 8 down the center and two on each side.
  • Spoon the Ragu over the pasta until completely covered.
  • Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
  • Remove and top with the mozzarella.
  • Return to the over for an additional 10 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt.
  • Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve with additional sauce on the side.
  • For the Bolognese Ragu (Italian Meat Sauce) You want to use a heavy pot or sauté pan for this, something that holds the heat well.
  • This will give you better control when you need to have the sauce just barely simmering.
  • Melt the butter in the sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add the next 4 ingredients and sauté until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and pork.
  • Cook the meat while using the edge of the spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.
  • Just before the meat begins to brown add the milk.
  • Return the mixture to a slow boil and allow to reduce until the milk has mostly evaporated.
  • About 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Add the wine, return to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce until the wine is mostly evaporated, another 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While the sauce is reducing drain and chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice.
  • When the wine has mostly evaporated add the tomatoes, along with the reserved juice, and the red pepper.
  • Now you want to reduce the flame until the sauce is barely at a simmer- only a bubble or two at a time breaking the surface.
  • Maintain this simmer, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
  • This should take about 3 to 4 hours.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • The long, slow simmering gives the meat a melt-in-your mouth quality.
  • Don't be daunted by the cooking time, as it only requires you be around to give it a stir from time-to-time.

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  1. Vicki Lynn’s Baked Manicotti is an absolute gem, and should be tried by everyone wanting to try an authentic family Italian recipe. If you make it once, I cannot imagine that you will not make it again and again. I just cannot find adequate superlatives to do full justice to this superb dish. The smells while it was cooking were divine. And the flavours more than lived up to the expectations that had been raised. It is time-consuming to make, but in view of how many meals you get from it, worth every minute spent. Even after serving it to eight people, there were still four servings for three or four to put in the freezer! Those to whom I served it were just SO impatient to get hold of a copy of the recipe: to know what was in it that made it taste so good! The general consensus was how different it was from what is mostly served up in Italian restaurants - and from most Italian recipes any of us had come across. There is a relatively smaller quantity of the meat sauce to the cheese stuffed manicotti than one finds in many recipes, but you could easily increase the amount of meat sauce if you wanted to. I won’t be next time I make it. Everyone who ate it agreed that the proportions were just right. The combinations of basil and parsley with the three cheeses was really wonderful. And the meat sauce – with several ingredients that surprised all of us: the ‘secret’! – equally fabulous. I had forgotten to buy proscuitto so I added a packet of well-thawed and thoroughly-drained frozen spinach to the cheese mixture. Next time, I’ll retain the spinach but make sure I remember the proscuitto! I added more like ½ cup of basil. The basil at the market the day I bought it was just so beautifully fresh and it smelt absolutely wonderful - and I love basil - so I just couldn’t resist throwing more in. For the meat sauce, I used a pork-veal mince – which I use in all recipes requiring mince - and because I don’t like spicy flavours, I omitted the red pepper flakes. These are but small changes made because of personal preferences. Reading the ingredients and when making this dish, I knew that this just had to be an authentic family recipe and a zmail to Vicki Lynn confirmed this. Vicki Lynn’s Baked Manicotti is her Calabrian great-great grandmother’s. Wow! Thank you Vicki Lynn, and thank you to your great-great grandmother for sharing this recipe. It’s been a privilege to have had access to it. This is one recipe I know that I will be making again and again.
  2. This was a huge hit at my house. My husband loved it so much that he asked me to ALWAYS have this sauce on hand because everything else pales by comparison. Yes it is time consuming but well worth the effort. Thanks so much for posting this gem!!!
  3. I made this as one of my picks for PAC Spring 2007. Very time consuming (not a quick workday dinner by any means, as I found out the hard way), but with excellent results. Thankfully, the parts of this recipe can be broken up and prepped separately with no issue (the sauce is the only real time-eater here, once that's made everything else can pretty much be handled in one shot). I basically stuck to the recipe as written, except that I added some chopped fresh spinach to the filling, just because I like it. I really enjoyed the prosciutto and fresh herbs in the filling. The sauce looked a bit scary to us while it was cooking, but it's just because my household is accustomed to non-meat-based pasta sauces (DH went from "eww, what's that?" to "that smells good, when's it gonna be ready?" in the four hours that the sauce took to simmer LOL). As stated in the recipe, the long cooking of the sauce really did wonders for the meat. This recipe makes lovely leftovers, too. I think I actually liked the leftovers better than the freshly baked dish, but I think that about most baked stuffed pastas. Good stuff, and very authentic. Thanks for posting!


I am a mommy of two wonderful little boys. My oldest is "the devil" Matthew 8yrs old (Aug 98) and my "little monster" is Adam, 3yr(Aug2003). I work as a Facility Administrator, which pretty much means, anything that needs to be done "ask Vicki, she'll do it". From watering the lawn, replacing lite bulbs in the washrooms, to processing payroll and handling employee complaints. It keeps me very busy and stressed :). I'm on marriage no. 2; the first was a test run, and I was able to figure out all the icky stuff, I wouldn't want a partner to be. DH#2, is mild tempered and just caters to my every whim. Perfect! <img src="*KUp7BHSHqqy7XH6gXoQ0%7CRup6aQQ%7C/of=50,332,442"> The OTHER kids: We have a shih-poo doggy named Buster (aka Budda, Butterbean, Butter) and two cats, a large, fluffy grey & white named Oliver, he's a complete sucky-baby. And, his sister (dominator) princess Olivia. Miss "O" runs the house. <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src=""> Participation & Awards: <img src="" alt="Image hosted by"> <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src="">
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