Author Notes: This recipe began with Giada's Beef and Cheese Manicotti, but after so many changes - took on a form of its own, captured here. For anyone else that loves Ina Garten, this recipe reminds me of a cheaper and faster version of her Turkey Lasagna recipe.
Recipe Note: Unless you are making your own marinara sauce from scratch, it is important that you buy a quality sauce. I like Rao's Homemade, but whatever you choose, make sure you like it first. - susankuess
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 pound grassfed beef
- 1/2 pound spicy italian pork sausage
- 14 manicotti shells
- 1 (15 ounce) whole milk ricotta
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, more to taste
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- Salt & Pepper
- 32 - 40 ounces good marinara sauce
- 1-2 tablespoon butter (optional)
- Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion, ground beef, and sausage. Make sure to break up the meat into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 or 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and set aside to cool.
- Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Transfer the manicotti onto the baking sheet using a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Transfer the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture - careful to avoid transferring the fat as well.
- Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 - 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Liberally stuff the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture using a spoon. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining 2 cups of sauce over.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces (optional). Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.