Baked Manicotti With Pepperoni Meat Sauce
photo by alligirl
- Ready In:
- 1hr 15mins
- 7 ounces pepperoni, sliced
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 48 ounces spaghetti sauce (Classico is our favorite)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (Kraft 5 cheese Italian blend)
- 4 ounces provolone cheese, chopped fine
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barrilla flat style)
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
- MEAT Pulse the pepperoni in a food processor until ground. Add (the already ground) beef and pulse until thoroughly combined. (This will blend the flavors better and also prep the beef so it's more tender rather than 'stringy out of the package when cooked).
- Transfer beef mixture to large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, and spices and cook over medium heat, breaking up mixture with wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup beef mixture to paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
- SAUCE: Add spaghetti sauce to the meat in the saucepan and simmer until heated through (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Begin making noodles and filling while sauce is simmering.
- NOODLES Pour 2 quarts very hot tap water into 13x9 inch baking dish. Place noodles into the water ONE AT A TIME (so as not to stick to each other). Soak noodles until pliable, about 8-10 minutes.
- FILLING In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and the reserved meat. Mix well.
- ASSEMBLY Drain noodles on place them in a single layer onto kitchen or paper towels. Pour off water and dry baking dish. Spread half of meat sauce over bottom of baking dish.
- With the short side of the noodles facing you, spread 1/4 cup of the filling filling across the bottom of each and roll into a tube. Arrange the rolled manicotti, seam-side down, over the sauce in the baking dish. Spread remaining sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling around edges, about 40 minutes.
- Remove foil and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered 5 more minutes. ***IMPORTANT*** Let cool 15 minutes.before serving so the cheese 'sets' and is not gooey.
Questions & Replies
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I made this Oct 22, 2012. This was delicious and given a 5 star rating by each member of the family. I made the meat sauce in advance. The evening I prepared the dish, I reheated the sauce, softened the noodles, prepared the filling mixture, and rolled the manicotti. I divided the manicotti into 2 pans, 1 to cook and 1 to freeze, and they were packed pretty tightly. My family was anxiously waiting to be fed, so I cooked the manicotti for the recommended 40 minutes, but felt like it could have used more time to become truly bubbly. Next time I will remember to add the shredded Italian cheese to the filling! Thanks for sharing.
This dish was really great, though not what I consider a quick weeknight meal. I had jumbo shells on hand so used those instead of the no boil lasagna. I did not boil the shells first, just stuffed the hard shells with the cheese mixture and baked about 10 minutes longer. They were perfectly al dente and it's a great way to save prep time. I made 2 8x8 pans - one tray filled everyone up at dinner with enough leftover for a few lunches during the week and the other tray went to the freezer for a future weeknight meal.
Manicotti is such a pain in the neck, as filling the cooked pasta shells is such a challenge. This recipe overcomes that obstacle! This is an ingenious use of the new 'no boil' noodles! I had 12 noodles, left over from a previous use, so I saved a bit of the filling for ravioli...I did use all the meat sauce. The meat sauce was pretty tasty; I've used pepperoni in my spaghetti sauce for years, but never 'pureed' it with the ground beef. I also used a six cheese italian blend, as that is what I found. We each had 2 shells, and will freeze the rest for later. YUM! Thanks for sharing, 2Bleu.