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Meat Filled Manicotti
August 06, 2011

This turned out very well for me. For the most part I stuck to the recipe, but I did use ricotta instead of cottage cheese, and added 1 egg, garlic powder and onion powder to the cheese/beef mixture. I used a ziploc bag to fill the tubes of manicotti, which I cooked only 5 minutes, then rinsed in cool water. They were easier to fill that way, but it's important to fry out the burger (or sausage) and make sure there are no largish chunks of meat, because the finer you fry it out, the easier it will be to use a ziploc or pastry bag to fill the tubes. The amount of cheese/beef mixture came out just about right for the manicotti. I liked the amount of a 14 oz. jar of sauce, since I'm not such a great sauce fan, but I rinsed the jar with about 1/4 cup of water, which I added to the pan to make sure the manicotti finished cooking (it did). I topped it with mozzarella and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, then covered it nice and tight with foil and baked it for about 45 minutes. I didn't have any trouble with the cheese on top burning! I guess my top tips are frying out the meat as fine as possible, lining the pan and covering it with non-stick foil, and after you fry out the meat, turn it into a colander and rinse it with cool water to cool off the meat and rinse off any fat. (Don't forget to let it strain to get rid of the water.) That way it won't be hot and melt any of the cheese, and the filling will be easy to handle. It was delicious and there were no leftovers!

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