Easy Manicotti with Italian Sausage

Easy Manicotti with Italian Sausage

Pasta. Sauce. Sausage. Baked. Four of my favorite words. This is my take on a recipe from The Recipe Critic. Manicotti is typically meatless, but I had a pound of Italian sausage and thought why not?! Enjoy some baked comfort food!

Ingredients

  • 10 manicotti
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (optional)
  • 16 ounce ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 jar (16 oz) marinara sauce
  • fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, brown the Italian sausage until thoroughly cooked. Drain grease and add marinara sauce. Mix well and set aside.
  1. Cook the manicotti according to package directions and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ricotta, one cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan, spinach (optional), Italian seasoning, and egg.
  1. In a 9×13″ pan,  add 1 cup of marinara sauce and sausage mixture to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Stuff the shells with the cheese mixture. Piping bags work great to fill the shells if you have them on hand, but if you don’t, I find that placing the filling in a large Ziploc bag and snipping a small corner of the bag works great to fill the shells. Line the bottom of the pan with the manicotti in an even layer over the sauce mixture. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.
  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.