Basically manicotti is a lot like lasagna, except a little easier. The recipe probably came off of a package of manicotti shells, so not really an old family recipe, but we’ve had it in our family for as long as I can remember. We often have this for Christmas dinner, and sometimes Easter.
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
32 oz. ricotta cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
24-36 oz. of spaghetti sauce, whatever your fave is
2 boxes of manicotti shells (approx. 28 shells)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare the shells.
Combine all the cheeses (save some of the mozz separately to spread on top), the eggs, salt and parsley in a bowl. Then stuff that mixture into the shells. Don’t cook the shells first (as many recipes instruct), just stuff them with the mixture when they’re uncooked; we just use a regular butter knife for this, some people use some sort of pastry bag setup, I think that’s unnecessary, but you do you.
Pour about half the sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan (glass, metal, doesn’t really matter). Put the shells in the sauce in one layer. You might need two pans, depending on how tightly you pack the shells. Then pour remaining sauce over the shells (don’t skimp on sauce, it plus heat is what’s going to cook the shells). Sprinkle top with mozz.
Cover with foil and bake about an hour. Enjoy. It freezes pretty well, too (after it’s cooked; just thaw frozen manicotti in fridge overnight and add 10 minutes to the cooking time or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°). You can vary the recipe, adding stuff to the cheese mixture (like 10 oz. of chopped spinach instead of parsley).