Beef and cheese manicotti stuffed with ground beef and three cheeses, an easy to make cozy and comforting dinner sure to please the whole family.
Cheesy ground beef manicotti, does that not sound delicious? It’s a dish I’ve made every so often over the years and it never disappoints. Although it involves a few steps, it’s not at all hard and still doable on a weeknight.
Back in the day, I used to watch A LOT of cooking television shows, not so much anymore. I remember seeing Giada make this manicotti and printed off the recipe and stuck it in my recipe drawer. It’s filled with my notes and a few stains, a welcome baked pasta dish when the weather turns cooler.
WHAT IS MANICOTTI?
It’s a stuffed pasta dish and in Italy it’s called cannelloni. The difference is minor, manicotti noodles are pasta tubes with ridges and are a little larger, cannelloni tubes are smaller and smoother.
The pasta tubes are cooked al dente and then stuffed with a cheese or meat and cheese mixture, or even spinach, and then baked in a casserole with marinara sauce.
- olive oil, salt and pepper
- ground beef
- manicotti noodles
- ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan
- Italian parsley, garlic and butter
- marinara sauce (I use Rao’s store-bought)
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1: Make the ground beef filling. Cook the beef in a skillet with the onion and garlic and then set aside to cool a bit.
Step 2: Cook the manicotti noodles until softened but still firm to the bite, transfer to oiled baking sheet to cool.
Step 3: Combine the cheeses and then stir in the cooled meat mixture.
Step 4: Fill the manicotti tubes with the meat and cheese mixture and arrange in a single layer in baking dish and top with marinara. Sprinkle with more mozz and Parm and then dot with butter. Bake about 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.
RECIPE NOTES AND TIPS
- I recommend whole milk ricotta for the flavor and richness. If you want a skinnier version, then try low fat.
- Manicotti pasta tubes come in packages of about 14 and are easily found in the pasta aisle of your supermarket.
- I use a small spoon to stuff the manicotti but you could use a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off to pipe in the mixture. I’ve never done that, I just use a spoon with no worries to how it looks, it works just fine that way for me.
- I use store-bought marinara sauce (only Rao’s for me!) but feel free to use your favorite awesome homemade marinara sauce. No right or wrong here. A good jar of marinara gets this on the table in about an hour!
- This freezes beautifully! I usually freeze about half the cooked manicotti and it’s delicious reheated weeks later, always a treat to have a comforting freezer meal handy!
This is the kind of comfort food we love around here, a homemade cheesy beef stuffed manicotti baked pasta dish. What’s not to love about this one? Kelly🍴🐦
You can never have enough baked comforting Italian American dishes!
- My Mom’s Lasagna Recipe is classic American lasagna with meat sauce and cottage cheese.
- Italian Baked Spaghetti is my great granddad’s cherished family recipe.
- And if you’re really adventurous, Nana’s Ravioli is my great grand parent’s Chicago-style ravioli, a lot of work but worth it!
Cheesy Ground Beef Manicotti
- olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium-fine dice about 1 cup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef I like ground sirloin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti, 14 pasta tubes
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3 cups marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- Prepare ground beef mixture. Heat skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up ground beef, until onion is translucent and beef is crumbled and browned and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Cook manicotti. Drizzle a little olive oil all over a large baking sheet to prevent sticking. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta tubes until softened but still firm, about 6 minutes. Remove to oiled baking sheet to cool.
- Prepare filling. Combine ricotta, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ cup grated Parmesan and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture and combine well.
- Preheat oven to 350ºDrizzle a couple more teaspoons of olive oil into bottom of 9" by 13" glass baking dish. Spread 1½ cups marinara over bottom of prepared dish. Fill the manicotti tubes with the cheese-meat mixture and arrange the stuffed pasta in one layer in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining 1½ cups marinara over the top.
- Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup shredded mozzarella, then the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan and then dot the entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and bubbly, about 35 minutes. Let dish rest for 5 minutes or so and serve. Enjoy!
- I use and prefer whole-milk ricotta, but you can use low fat if desired.
- I also use packaged shredded mozzarella for this dish, it's easier to mix the filling without clumping. So while I generally agree to shred your own cheese because it tastes and melts better, you'll be served well by buying a good quality package of shredded mozzarella.
- Romano cheese is a nice substitute for the Parmesan, if desired.
- Use a small spoon to stuff the tubes or pipe in with a gallon plastic bag with the corner cut off.
- Store bought marinara is my choice and I love Rao's. If you love your awesome homemade marinara than use that!
- Leftover manicotti freezes beautifully. I wrap it tightly and freeze the next day after it's completely cooled and chilled. Reheats are great down the road!