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One of the first "fancy" dishes I learned how to make was manicotti.  I am not Italian, but this dish screams Italian when I eat it. The meat stuffing is full of flavor. I like lasagna, but with this you get the best of everything... Plenty of noodle, plenty of sauce, a nice amount of meat mixture and cheese!
  It will seem like you've been in the kitchen all day long making this.  It does require some time, but it is totally worth it. 


  • 1 box of manicotti noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup onions diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/3 cup green onions
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 jars of datterini marinara sauce (or your favorite kind of marinara)


  • Boil noodles according to package and set aside.
  • Brown the ground meat, add the onions, celery to cook down with it. Add all the seasonings and at the end add the green onions, cook down for a minute or two. 
  • Place in a bowl to cool. 
  • Mix ricotta with eggs and when the ground meat mixture is cooled add it together. 
  • Stuff the cooled manicotti noodles. This is messy! 
  • Pour some marinara on the bottom of the pan, placed stuffed shells on top and pour more sauce on top of the noodles. 
  • Sprinkle mozzarella on top if desired. 
  • Bake covered for 1 hour on 350