Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

Manicotti is a dish of great comfort. It makes plenty, it’s filling, it’s completely family-friendly, and the leftovers are even better than the freshly made batch. We make this when we have a handful of friends or family around. It’s a nice, no-fuss recipe that everyone seems to love. Make it ahead, keep it in the fridge and toss it in the oven when everybody is ready to eat.

How to Make Manicotti:

You need all of this stuff.

The filling is very simple to make. Just mix it all up in a bowl until it’s well-blended. If you (or your kids) don’t like spinach, you can always leave it out… though I’ve found that you don’t really detect it all that much with all of the other wonderful things and sauce in the recipe. You might consider it a good way to “sneak” some good stuff into dinner.

A layer of sauce goes into the bottom of a 13×9-inch pan.

The easiest way to stuff manicotti shells is the put the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner.

Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Let it overflow on both sides.

Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan.

Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling.

Cover with a generous layer of marinara sauce.

Sprinkle cheese on top. At this point, you can cover with foil, refrigerate and then bake when you’re ready. It’s ok to leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

Cover and bake for about an hour.

Pop open a bottle of red wine and eat! This recipe will feed 6 or 7 hungry people- 2 stuffed shells each is plenty when served with salad and garlic bread.

Print Print Recipe

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

Yield: 6 servings (2 manicotti per serving)

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 60 min

This recipe for Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Manicotti was inspired by my Mom, who used to make this for all special family occasions before she had to say goodbye to manicotti noodles and go gluten-free.


1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed completely & squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
3 to 4 cups marinara sauce (1 jar + a little more)
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for topping


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well blended.

3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.

4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells- if you run out of room in your pan, use a separate smaller pan to accommodate the extra.

5. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.

6. Bake, covered with foil, 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.


*It's perfectly okay to use low fat ricotta and low fat cream cheese.
*If you don't wish to use the spinach, it's ok to leave it out and just turn this into a cheese-stuffed manicotti.
*If you don't wish to use the plastic bag method of squeezing the filling into the shells, you can use a very small spoon or fork to stuff the filling-- it will just take a bit longer and might be a little messy.

Source: RecipeGirl.com

Leave a Comment

181 Responses to “Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Manicotti”

  1. 1

    Lauren at KeepItSwee — February 21, 2011 @ 5:10 AM

    Wow, this does look delicious! I’ve actually never made manicotti before.

  2. 2

    Sarah — February 21, 2011 @ 5:39 AM

    I love Manicotti but I always thought it would be difficult to make. This is now on my must try list!

  3. 3

    Maria — February 21, 2011 @ 7:28 AM

    One of my favorite meals!

  4. 4

    Jenny Flake — February 21, 2011 @ 7:46 AM

    LOVE manicotti! Gorgeous!

  5. 5

    EatLiveRun — February 21, 2011 @ 7:48 AM

    I love manicotti but I’ve never made it at home! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  6. 6

    Eliana — February 21, 2011 @ 8:04 AM

    This is seriously making my mouth water right now. Is it bad that I want them for breakfast right now?

  7. 7

    Blog New Black — February 21, 2011 @ 9:21 AM

    Yum! Can’t wait to try these! :)

  8. 8

    Amanda — February 21, 2011 @ 9:56 AM

    Yum! I’ve got all the ingredients for this, might have it for dinner tonight! :)

  9. 9

    Kelly @ Evil Shenani — February 21, 2011 @ 10:27 AM

    Great tutorial! Love any kind of stuffed pasta, but add spinach and I am likely to be the happiest girl at the table! Yum!

  10. 10

    Tracey — February 21, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

    I love simple pasta dishes like this – your manicotti look perfect!

  11. 11

    doughmesstic — February 21, 2011 @ 11:10 AM

    Oh, I am SO hungry. This looks so good!

  12. 12

    Crystal — February 21, 2011 @ 12:07 PM

    I love the way you stuff your pasta! I’m totally going to do that from now on.

  13. 13

    Katrina — February 21, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

    This looks lovely! Awesome recipe!

  14. 14

    Shannon — February 21, 2011 @ 12:32 PM

    I’ve always found this so hard to make, but never realized I could do it without boiling the manicotti! You rock.

    I have a question. Why do you add cream cheese? It’s something I’ve never heard of and am curious about it.


  15. 15

    Ari Recipes — February 21, 2011 @ 2:58 PM

    I love your method for filling the manicotti, so easy and quick .. I used to stay a long time on this stage, using only a teaspoon :))):)))

  16. 16

    Tracy — February 21, 2011 @ 3:07 PM

    I love how easy these are! Yum!

  17. 17

    Laura @ Family Spice — February 21, 2011 @ 7:25 PM

    The first time I made manicotti I tried to stuff them with a spoon. You are so right that a pastry bag is MUCH easier!

  18. 18

    Cookin' Canuck — February 21, 2011 @ 9:11 PM

    I never think to make manicotti, but know my family would absolutely love this dish.

  19. 19

    Joyce Pack — February 22, 2011 @ 1:18 PM

    I haven’t made manicotti in a long time. I’m going to have to try this. Looks wonderful as usual!

  20. 20

    martha — February 22, 2011 @ 1:47 PM

    This manicotti recipe looks delicious. I love that you can make it with uncooked pasta which is so much easier to work with. The filling would also be delicious for stuffed shells, another great comfort meal I haven’t had in too long!

  21. 21

    Jill — February 22, 2011 @ 3:02 PM

    I assembled these today-will bake tomorrow evening. I tried using a large ziplock bag without success to stuff the pasta. Guess I need to invest in some pastry bags! :)

  22. 22

    Lori Lange — February 22, 2011 @ 3:36 PM

    @Jill, No success using a big zip bag? It’s a little trickier, but I’ve done it before. Maybe just a little filling in the bag at a time… hard to manage it when it’s full.

  23. 23

    Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker — February 22, 2011 @ 7:05 PM

    I adore manicotti but I have yet to make it myself. Yours looks delicious!

  24. 24

    Misty — February 23, 2011 @ 8:56 PM

    Why have I never thought of using uncoiled shells?! I’ve made it many times, cooking the pasta as the box instructs, and the shells always split. Thanks for a great technique tip!

  25. 25

    Sylvie@GITK — February 24, 2011 @ 3:17 AM

    A favorite in my house for sure! You can’t go wrong with a classic like this.

  26. 26

    Jill — February 24, 2011 @ 3:29 AM

    Back to leave a quick review…..this recipe is wonderful! I used no fat/low fat for all the cheeses, prepared the dish a day ahead-popped it in the oven after work while we hit the gym. Had my doubts about the uncooked shells, but they were delicious! This is a keeper.

  27. 27

    Posti4 — February 24, 2011 @ 8:03 PM

    Great photos & recipe

  28. 28

    Lori — February 25, 2011 @ 7:22 AM

    This is going on the menu as our “Meatless Monday” meal next week! Thanks for sharing!

  29. 29

    Alissa — February 25, 2011 @ 11:52 AM

    WOW! Thanks for this recipe!

  30. 30

    Monica — February 26, 2011 @ 9:51 AM

    Great way to fill the shells–your photos are provide a clear demo. Thanks!

  31. 31

    Lori — March 1, 2011 @ 9:32 AM

    Made this last night and it was delicious! Next time, I won’t put all of the filling in the Ziploc bag at once. That was the most difficult part of the recipe, and that wasn’t hard at all! Will make this again and again.

  32. 32

    Lamb — March 2, 2011 @ 6:35 AM

    Just bookmarked this one. Geez, I love your site! :)

  33. 33

    Gina B — March 13, 2011 @ 5:14 AM

    Made it last night! It was delicious with homemade garlic bread and some wine, just like you said!

    Had a tough time filling the manicotti, but I’ll put that down to being completely inexperienced with filled pastas. Worth it in the end!

  34. 34

    Jeanne — July 6, 2011 @ 2:59 PM

    Although skeptical about not boiling the manicotti beforehand, my curiosity about the surprising addition of cream cheese won. For a large group last night, I whipped up (no exaggeration; this really comes together quickly, especially w/ aide of Ziploc freezer bag for filling duty) two batches and they were wonderful. The filling was rich, creamy and full of flavor and the manicotti were perfectly cooked. Especially considering the elimination of the troublesome old step of boiling manicotti and filling the still warm pasta w/out splitting, yadda, yadda, yadda, this recipe is a keeper!

  35. 35

    Lori Lange — July 6, 2011 @ 4:51 PM

    So glad you enjoyed! Yep, so much easier to fill the noodles when they’re not falling apart!

  36. 36

    Jess — July 7, 2011 @ 7:39 PM

    This was really good! I had never made this before but it was really easy to do. I love your blog! Keep doing the great things you do ( :

  37. 37

    Ashlei — August 5, 2011 @ 2:15 PM

    Gonna try it tonite and I will let you know how it turns out :) It sure looks yummy!

  38. 38

    Miranda — August 19, 2011 @ 3:20 PM

    I made this the other night for my boyfriend and I,.. delicious!! I forgot to add the cream cheese (which I was really interested in trying out!) but it still turned out really good. Left overs for days! I can’t wait to make this again, and next time I will for sure remember the cream cheese. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  39. 39

    Pasta-man — September 25, 2011 @ 11:36 PM

    I work in a pasta manufacturing plant and I would not use raw pasta directly in any dish. The pasta gets exposed to a lot of dust, dirt, and other unsavory things during the drying and packing process. I guess you can rinse it in water but it is better to parboil it in a lot of water. Same thing goes with adding pasta to soup.

  40. 40

    Lori Lange — September 26, 2011 @ 6:43 AM

    Hmmm. Interesting. I’ve been doing it all my life- maybe the cooking process gets rid of anything unsavory.

  41. 41

    Nicole — September 29, 2011 @ 5:04 PM

    Lori- you are a genius. I love your recipes. They are all wonderful. I made this for dinner tonight and I can definitely say it was worth the two hour wait (I was hungry when I started). Never made Manicotti before, but you made it so easy- especially by not cooking the shells! I was hesitant but after the first bite I was all smiles. I should of know never to doubt you!

  42. 42

    Lori Lange — September 29, 2011 @ 5:39 PM

    Yahoo- great to hear that it was a hit. Most people are skeptical of the uncooked noodles, but they work!

  43. 43

    Brooke — October 7, 2011 @ 9:44 AM

    This receipe looks delicious! I will only be cooking for my husband and I so what is the best way to split this and freeze half it?

  44. 44

    Lori Lange — October 8, 2011 @ 7:18 AM

    I’d prepare the recipe in two pans right up until the point before you bake it. Cover the one that you’d like to freeze w/ plastic wrap and foil and freeze it. When you’re ready to bake it, defrost it overnight and then bake as directed. We do this too!

  45. 45

    Sharon — October 16, 2011 @ 11:58 AM

    I added cremini mushrooms, shallots, garlic cloves to the recipe. Mixed all in a food processor and added to the spinach mix in a large bowl. Delicious!

  46. 46

    Lori Lange — October 16, 2011 @ 12:32 PM

    Great additions!

  47. 47

    Jill W. — October 27, 2011 @ 6:06 AM

    Best.manicotti.ever. Amazing recipe! Thanks Lori!

  48. 48

    Smokey — November 1, 2011 @ 9:25 AM

    i love manicotti but im not a huge fan of spinach so i substituted basil and chives with a small amount of mushrooms and it came out beautifully

  49. 49

    Chloe — November 7, 2011 @ 11:02 PM

    OMG!! THIS WAS AMAZING!!! I was a little hesitant with the hard raw shells… But THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING IN MY DINNER RECIPE BOOK!! I absolutely loved it and so did my husband. I’m watching my husband eat a second place right now. Lol!! I only used a half a block of spinach cause im not a huge fan of spinach and it was perfect!!!

  50. 50

    Miriam — November 11, 2011 @ 11:59 AM

    I just finished making this, but i forgot to add salt. :\ Anways I love yout recipe! I used!

  51. 51

    Yami — November 24, 2011 @ 11:26 AM

    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful recipe. I made it last Sunday and my husband enjoyed it so much that he asked me to do it again today for Thanksgiving dinner so we can share it with the rest of the family. Next time I will add onions, garlic, and mushrooms.
    I boiled the manicotti for a few minutes (they were still hard, just to get rid of the powder flavor). I used Ziploc snack bags for the filling. It was pretty easy. Also, I added ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the initial mix. I baked 35 minutes (covered) and an additional 10 minutes (uncovered).
    I still need to work on the baking time.
    Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. 52

    Just-a-cook — December 13, 2011 @ 1:39 PM

    Pasta-man comment makes me wonder about the “oven ready” lasagna noodles they sell, those must be left raw. And I would agree with the way Lori thinks, maybe baking them for an hour gets rid of whatever is there.

    I’ve made manicotti cooking the shells and it’s really annoying when they split. Next time I will try this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  53. 53

    Lori Lange — December 13, 2011 @ 1:43 PM

    Good point!

  54. 54

    phillip — December 22, 2011 @ 6:21 AM

    i like that i dont have to cook the shells first….it really gets messy and they break after cooking

  55. 55

    Lori Lange — December 22, 2011 @ 6:21 AM


  56. 56

    chuck — January 8, 2012 @ 7:43 AM

    Loved it, so much easier not cooking shells ahead of time. Made one little change I added ground italian sausage to the sauce for a little extra kick. Yummy I could live off this….

  57. 57

    sara — January 10, 2012 @ 5:58 PM

    ugh, never making again. I added chopped bell pepper to the mix, MISTAKE. what a royal mess. Taste is good though.

  58. 58

    Dee — January 10, 2012 @ 9:08 PM

    I tried this and it was delicious. But my friends don’t like the ricotta or cream cheese. Is it ok to leave out either the ricotta or cream cheese? If so, how do I make up for the loss?

  59. 59

    Lori Lange — January 11, 2012 @ 2:18 PM

    I’m not sure it would really be manicotti at all if you had to leave out the ricotta! Not sure what you’d do to substitute that…

  60. 60

    Eric — January 14, 2012 @ 6:23 PM

    @Dee, I read a recipe today that substituted 1/2 cottage cheese for 1/2 ricotta. I imagine you could use all cottage cheese, but I know a few people who don’t like cottage cheese right along with ricotta and cream cheese. Tofu (drained) would be strange and different, but maybe with the right spices and grated cheese?
    My batch is in the oven right now. I added some sage sausage cooked with onions and garlic. I just pulled it out of the oven and tried it…it’s delicious!

  61. 61

    Lyre — January 17, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

    Looks so delicious ! Will try this recipe for dinner tonight! :)

  62. 62

    Dee — January 18, 2012 @ 9:21 PM

    @Eric: Thanks. I would try it out that way next weekend.

  63. 63

    megan — January 22, 2012 @ 4:18 PM

    Does it really work to not precook the shells? I do hate that half of them split in the boiling stage but I don’t want chewy pasta either.

  64. 64

    Lori Lange — January 22, 2012 @ 4:40 PM

    yes, it really works :)

  65. 65

    Trishy — January 24, 2012 @ 12:52 PM

    My Teeny will be making this for us tonight! She is excited for the ‘no cook’ method on the noodles. She is gonna show that noodle who is da boss!!

  66. 66

    Lori Lange — January 24, 2012 @ 8:49 PM

    Awesome- let me know how it works out for Teeny!

  67. 67

    Carl — January 31, 2012 @ 5:12 AM

    I’m a newbie (gave up fast-food) in the kitchen and this recipe went off without a hitch! Ziploc bag route was messy but fun. This is how a recipe website should be (PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS). Thanks and keep up the good work.

  68. 68

    Nichole M. — February 3, 2012 @ 5:01 AM

    I have made this several time and it is amazing!! This last time we sauted onions, mushrooms and bell peppers and added it to the spinach and cheese mix. IT WAS AMAZING!!! It also easily adjusts to a lasagna if your short on time!

  69. 69

    Julie D — February 7, 2012 @ 6:10 PM

    Made these for dinner and they turned out great. What a time saver and way easier than having to boil the noodles first.
    Thanks for this recipe

  70. 70

    Michelle — February 21, 2012 @ 1:18 PM

    I am extremely new to cooking but this looks fairly easy and really exciting. My only problem is that my fiancé won’t eat anything without meat. Do you have any suggestions on how I can incorporate meat into this meal?

  71. 71

    Lori Lange — February 23, 2012 @ 6:12 AM

    Fry up some ground beef and mix it into the filling?

  72. 72

    Jean — February 29, 2012 @ 8:42 AM

    If I dont have time to thaw the spinach out is there something else I could do? I love spinach so i dont want to leave it out. Fresh spinach wouldnt work right? Caus it wouldnt cook fully?

  73. 73

    Lori Lange — February 29, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

    Fresh spinach won’t work bc it will add too much moisture into the filling. If you have fresh spinach, chop it and then sauté it to draw out the moisture, then squeeze dry. Can you put the frozen spinach in a fine sieve and run water over it to thaw?

  74. 74

    Jean — February 29, 2012 @ 9:59 AM

    sorry whats a sieve? is it a strainer? i could just do that, thanks!

  75. 75

    Lori Lange — February 29, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

    sorry- it’s a very fine strainer. If you just use a pasta strainer, frozen spinach is chopped into such small pieces that they might sneak through the holes. Give it a shot.

  76. 76

    Tammy — March 10, 2012 @ 2:47 PM

    This was SOS delicious! We all loved it. Thanks so much. I pinned it!

  77. 77

    Cris — March 16, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

    New noodle tip for everyone – Lasagna noodles work great for easy manicotti.Cook noodles till aldente, use pastry or ziploc bag as stated to make a line of filling across the noodle shortways, roll, cut with knife or pizza cutter (easier) place seam side down. Each noodle makes 3-4 cute short manicotties depending on how thick you pipe the filling. Bake for about 30 min or till bubbly. Then add cheese till melted.

  78. 78

    Erica — March 16, 2012 @ 1:10 PM

    I intend on making this recipe this weekend! I am considering making my own sauce as well as using shrimp as well. Excited to make it

  79. 79

    Lori Aldinger — March 17, 2012 @ 10:00 PM

    Are you married to Monte Lange from Billings?

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    Lori Lange — March 18, 2012 @ 7:51 AM


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    Michelle — March 20, 2012 @ 3:48 PM

    I made this last week and it was such a hit that I just put another batch in the oven as we speak!!!! Thank you do much for the recipe, my family thanks you as well!!!!!

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    Lori Lange — March 20, 2012 @ 7:42 PM

    You’re welcome- it’s a family favorite of ours too!

  83. 83

    Sarah — March 24, 2012 @ 9:02 PM

    I’ve made manicotti before, but have always used a spoon to stuff them. It’s always messy, the pasta normally tears (from boiling them only 2-3 minutes,) and takes a really long time. When I saw this I felt so inspired to try it for dinner tonight because it looked so easy! I added very small bits of chicken, sundried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Well, it wasn’t as easy as I expected. I think my first problem was that I cut the hole in the bag too big! The second problem was that as I squeezed the bag it actually slid out from the tube, even when I was holding the noodle firmly around the bag. My husband had to help me hold the bag, and together we manged to stuff all the noodles.

    It was a fun experiment. I may try it a few more times until I master the bag technique. Thanks for the idea!!

  84. 84

    Erica — March 29, 2012 @ 9:22 AM

    This was absolutely delicious! My dad boyfriend his brother and grandpa “all picky eaters” loooved it! In my cook book great job!

  85. 85

    jim — April 27, 2012 @ 8:17 PM

    Awesome hit–have made it twice and smiles all around. Quick tip: After thawing the spinach and squeezing it, chop it finer with a knife. My brand of chopped spinach is chopped too coarsely, which gave me issues with clogging the piping bag. Chopped finely, though, filling the shells was a breeze.

    Have also used this filling for a lasagna with browned jalapeno chicken sausage in the meat sauce. Gave it a small kick which everyone raved about. Thanks for the recipe!

  86. 86

    Lori Lange — April 28, 2012 @ 1:38 PM

    Great tips!

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    Jeffreyd. — May 3, 2012 @ 1:54 PM

    looking for something to do with my ‘famous’ spaghetti sauce that is different. Thanks for the recipe.

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    clarissa — June 16, 2012 @ 2:58 PM

    I just made this for dinner, and unfortunately the shells stayed hard :( not sure what went wrong. I am wondering if I should have boiled them first.

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    Lori Lange — June 18, 2012 @ 8:34 PM

    No idea!– were the shells completely covered in sauce? They should have softened up w/ baking (no need to pre-boil noodles). Works every time for me using Classico Sauce.

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    Kathy F. — June 20, 2012 @ 12:17 PM

    I made this last week for my daughter & family. I did use fresh spinach – no one mentioned it was watery! Looked & smelled wonderful – wich I could have tried it!

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    Patty — June 22, 2012 @ 9:24 AM

    Will the Manicotti actually cook? i’m worried they will be hard?

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    Lori Lange — June 24, 2012 @ 1:50 PM

    Yes! It should cook up just fine- make sure the manicotti are completely covered with sauce. I use Classico Tomato-Basil sauce and it turns out perfect!

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    Rosemary — June 25, 2012 @ 4:39 AM

    Spinach can be defrosted in the microwave. Punch some holes in the box with an icepick, defrost. Squeeze the box till all liquid is gone. Either buy chopped spinach or cut spinach up with scissors.

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    marie truax — June 28, 2012 @ 4:27 PM

    this is so easy to make and even impressed my sisters boyfriend who is italian.lol

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    Alyssa — July 2, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

    I made this last night and it is absolutely AMAZiNG!!!!! It took me a while to cook but you know it’s all worth it at the end! I used all the shells and still have left over filling! I’m so glad I found this! He filling is the fun part;)

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    Ashley — July 19, 2012 @ 11:25 AM

    The first time I ate Manicotti was when I was living in New York for a year. It was those frozen already filled shells that u simply pour sauce over and I fell inlove with it! Now I am back home in South Africa and could NEVER find anything that was even slightly similar… Until I found your recipe! So simple and yummy omw! Thank you so very much :) and the fact that I made it from scratch was even more rewarding!!

  97. 97

    Courtney — July 26, 2012 @ 8:00 AM

    I am making this tonight with large pasta shells. They’re much easier to fill than real manicotti. Also I am leaving out the spinach and adding basil, parsley, and garlic salt. I would have kept the spinach, but my step dad isn’t a spinach lover and I prefer to have raw spinach. I’m hoping it works out well. :-)

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    Amanda — July 27, 2012 @ 9:06 PM

    Im thinking making a ex’s favorite food will somehow attract him to me again. idk i hope so at least. it did before. but now im gonna make his favorite food which is manicotti tomorrow and i need a recipe. me and him are best friends now. and i really want him to feel the same way i do. they say food is the way to a man’s heart. if its true i might as well give it a try. Do you think this recipe will do the trick? :(

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    Clint Fisher — August 8, 2012 @ 12:03 PM

    This is a very easy , to make recipe. It’s like I cant believe I made it.
    and re-heated left-overs, the next day are even better.

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    Tom Williams — August 10, 2012 @ 2:56 PM

    My 12 yr old daughter and I just made this Manicotti dish and it is great! I didn’t change anything from the recipe and I can’t see a reason to do so. We froze half of the shells and will have the rest sometime within the week. Great recipe! Two thumbs up!

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    Tara — August 12, 2012 @ 8:36 AM

    Would it be ok to boil the noodles just for a couple of minutes first, just to make sure they get soft?

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    Lori Lange — August 12, 2012 @ 8:53 PM

    There is no need! I suppose you could if you were worried about it though. They will be more difficult to stuff.

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    Ruth McCoskey — August 22, 2012 @ 4:05 PM

    This is soooooooo yummy. I didn’t have ricotta so I used small curd whole milk cottage cheese. And stuffing the manicotti without cooking it was much easier.

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    Larry — August 26, 2012 @ 9:00 PM

    I added lightly sautéed shrimp (diced to make stuffing easier). It was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

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    Mimi — September 4, 2012 @ 1:40 PM

    Do you think I could stuff this filling into jumbo shells?

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    Kelly — October 16, 2012 @ 9:03 AM

    I making this tonight and can’t wait to try it!!!

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    WANDA — November 12, 2012 @ 4:26 PM

    I’m making it tonight, can’t wait to taste it. I hope my family like it. If they like it I’ll try making it again. I know I’ll like it . Because I like trying something different. I put ground Sausage in mind.

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    WANDA — November 12, 2012 @ 4:30 PM

    They LOVE it and I did too.

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    Lori Lange — November 12, 2012 @ 7:04 PM


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    Jordan — December 5, 2012 @ 5:20 PM

    THIS IS DELICIOUS! Best manicotti I have EVER had.

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    Barbarella — December 16, 2012 @ 2:15 PM

    This was a great dish… The first time I made it I didn’t have spinach. I have another batch in the oven right now. Thank you for this easy tutorial! My whole family loves it.

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    monica martin — January 7, 2013 @ 2:49 PM

    What is the nutritional value? Calories, fat, sodium etc?

  113. 113

    Lori Lange — January 7, 2013 @ 3:45 PM

    No idea- but there are recipe calculators online that you can use if you want to figure it out. I usually use the Spark People Recipe Calculator.

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    Monica M. — January 8, 2013 @ 6:55 PM

    I made these yesterday. They were so delicious! I will say that you might want to use name brand for the shells because sometimes the cheaper ones don’t make the holes on the end big enough to pipe it through. Also, invest in a pastry bag because it can be difficult to get into the shells with plastic zip lock bags. I made it work but it would be easier using a pastry bag. This was a great recipe and I will be making it again! Thanks!

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    Lori Lange — January 9, 2013 @ 7:56 PM

    You’re absolutely right- pastry bags do indeed make it much easier to fill the shells!

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    kate — January 11, 2013 @ 4:35 PM

    I made this today and it’s in the fridge right now. I had filled 14 manicotti shells and still have a lot of fillings left over. Can’t wait to cook it!

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    Jolene Carrera — January 12, 2013 @ 5:35 PM

    Made this last night, cooked it and had it for dinner. Might I say this was the BEST manicotti I’ve ever made! Made a few modifications: dash of garlic powder, dash of italian seasoning, parmesan, asiagio and romano shredded cheese mix to the cheese mixture. Browned up out of their casings, 3 hot italian sausage links, drained and added 2 jars Paul Newman Marinara sauce and let simmer while I filled the manicotti. For those who have issues using the plastic bag, and I was hesitant after reading the reviews, so I got one of my daughter’s old baby spoons out of the drawer (the kind with the rubber spoon part, I still use them to get into the horseradish jars LOL) and used that to fill the manicotti and it worked beautifully!! I also must say, it is SO much easier to fill them uncooked! Placed a layer of sauce on the bottom, filled the casserole dish with as many as I could (12, had two left over didn’t fill them) and covered them with the sauce completely. I topped them with a little fresh mozzarella that i had leftover from another recipe, and some for of the trio cheese mix, covered it and baked it as directed. Came out perfectly cooked! Thank you Lori, for such an amazingly awesome recipe!!! I will never cook noodles for manicotti or lasagna, ever again!!!

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    Jolene Carrera — January 12, 2013 @ 5:44 PM

    I also had extra filling and sauce leftover, which I think the filling should freeze well for another use.

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    alma — January 25, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

    I made this for dinner tonight, it was a perfect potrion of stuffing for the box of manicotti. My husband and kids loved it, thanks for the recipe.

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    Haley — February 5, 2013 @ 11:42 AM

    I’ve used this recipe twice now. Absolutely delicious. The 2nd time I actually added 1/2 lb of ground beef to the sauce, then put that on top of the manicotti. I like it both ways!

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    Lil leprechaun — February 6, 2013 @ 1:01 PM

    Great recipe and so simple don’t know why I don’t make it more often. I used the same filling for chicken roulades, wonderful!!!

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    Rachel — February 9, 2013 @ 8:18 AM

    Made this the other day! Fed me and my roommates for days! It was delicious.

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    Maureen — February 13, 2013 @ 1:34 PM

    My family loved these have asked me to make again for famy day!!! Going to try not cooking noodles this time after reading blog. Thanks for recipe

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    Dakota — February 17, 2013 @ 6:04 PM

    Just finished eating this, fed me and my roommates and they all said this needs to be a once a week meal. Simple to make and deffinitly a good idea to prepare a day in advance.

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    Gracemerendino — March 5, 2013 @ 9:56 AM

    My father a professional chef always taught me to use a pinch of nutmeg in my stuffed shells , manicotti’ or lasagne stuffing found it to make a tasteful difference

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    Lori Lange — March 6, 2013 @ 6:38 PM

    good tip!

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    Trisha — March 22, 2013 @ 4:03 PM

    Made this last night. Subbed feta for the cream cheese and it was fantastic! Easy and everyone loved it, I’ll definitely make it again.

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    linda page — April 18, 2013 @ 3:02 PM

    Thanks! This was easy and fun to make.

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    Tia — May 21, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

    Can fresh spinach be used? I find frozen tastes funny.

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    Lori Lange — May 22, 2013 @ 1:36 PM

    Yes, but you’d probably want to heat it and wilt it and squeeze the liquid out of it first.

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    Ana Noone — July 7, 2013 @ 3:08 PM

    It’s been ages since I made manicotti, so I needed a refresher on what cheeses to use. I never thought of cream cheese, thank you. And thank you especially for the baggie idea, why did i never think of that!

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    Laura — July 19, 2013 @ 2:38 PM

    Thank you for this recipe! I like how you used the pictures, it allowed making this recipe so simple!

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    Peggy — September 6, 2013 @ 1:43 PM

    If you are using the frozen spinach (thaw) or fresh (cooked) then use your potato ricer to squeeze the excess liquid out. Works wonderfully and far drier and easier than the towel wringing technique. You also get the added bonus of not putting the spinach and juice still in the towel in your laundry. I have never made riced potatoes in my life but I have used the tool many times for squeezing spinach.

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    Lori Lange — September 8, 2013 @ 10:08 PM

    Terrific tip- thank you!

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    Dia — September 11, 2013 @ 9:29 PM

    I made this today and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! I made some error and it didn’t turn out GREAT, but even though I made the error and it still tasted awesome meaning making it the right way will be even more fabulous! One mistake I made is using fresh spinach. I wilted it in a pan without using any oil, afterwards I totally forgot to squeeze the excess water out and that made the filling runny. The second mistake I made was not boil the shell before hand. Yes it cooked and everything (add another 10-15 min. since the 60 min wasn’t enough), but the powdery smell linger. Next time I plan to boil it slightly, not fully to get rid of the smell. Other than that the whole thing is WONDERFULLY DELISH!

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    2centgal — September 15, 2013 @ 6:31 AM

    But why the jar sauce? It takes only 5 minutes to make a great sauce!

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    Vera McHenry — September 15, 2013 @ 9:11 AM

    Your recipe is very similar to my veggie lasagna, except I use spaghetti sauce.

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    Lori Lange — September 16, 2013 @ 5:11 PM

    And you can certainly do that!

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    Steve — October 26, 2013 @ 3:40 PM

    Gotta say that 45 min prep time is a lie!! :) I think it only took me 15 mins to get everything mixed and piped into the shells. Couldn’t believe how easy it was with the ziploc. I accidentally started boiling the noodles and pulled them after 3.5 minutes. Actually worked out pretty well. I also browned some ground venison and added it to the marinara. Can’t wait to eat this!

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    Lori Lange — October 28, 2013 @ 10:47 AM

    I’m so glad you thought it was easy. Sometimes it takes me a while to stuff the shells, so I played it safe w/ a 45 min. prep time!

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    Beedoo! — November 6, 2013 @ 9:50 AM

    I wish I’d seen your recipe before seeing the one that told me to parboil the cannolini. :/ And I think I’ll opt for a frosting bag next time I try! (though with the hard noodles, and a smaller hole in the bag, it may not be an issue.)

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    Pamela Cochran — January 6, 2014 @ 1:19 AM

    I made this and it was delicious. Little trouble with the bag method, but it was a great fun and an awesome bonding experience with my girls. This is not only super yummy but very easy to prepare. It made enough for two meals. Highly recommend.

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    De — January 17, 2014 @ 3:47 PM

    These look amazing…I would love to make them but I despise Ricotta cheese…is there anything that I can use as a substitute?

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    Lori Lange — January 21, 2014 @ 7:42 AM

    Hmmm, some people use cottage cheese, but using all cottage cheese might be too much.

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    Mike — January 25, 2014 @ 11:53 AM

    I had some leftover sauce and lasagna filling that I had frozen from Christmas. Similar to yours, but with chop meat added to the filling. Used the zip lock method with ease. Got ‘em in the oven now. Very simple to put together. If the manicotti shells (Ronzoni) get to al dente, I’m sure it will be a homerun.

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    Lauren — February 9, 2014 @ 4:30 PM

    Just made this. Super fantastic! No complaints at all! (Will use a smaller bag next time but it was still a breeze, even with the big one).

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    Darcy — February 11, 2014 @ 7:06 AM

    Made this the other night. It was a hit. Chopped up button mushrooms and saute them in olive oil. Added fresh spinach on top of the mushrooms, sautéed till just cooked. Let the veg mixture cool. This was delish! Love the no boil method.

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    James Bradshaw — February 12, 2014 @ 12:20 PM

    This is the second time I’ve made manicotti using your recipe and it is beyond delicious. Of course, I’ve changed it up a bit. I use a meat marinara sauce made with ground beef, hot sausage, and bacon. I use a few different chilies in the meat sauce for flavor. I make the filling per recipe. With a salad and crunchy sourdough garlic bread, this is one of the best meals on this planet!! Thanks!!

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    Zack Nowicki — February 15, 2014 @ 6:59 PM

    They were super yummy. >^.^<

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    Tammie Bean — February 16, 2014 @ 4:40 PM

    I made this with 2 jars alfredo sauce and I added finely minced chicken and basil instead of the spinach. This recipe is great as it is written and I love that it can be tweaked for individual tastes. Thanks!

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    Vanessa Emmenegger — February 24, 2014 @ 6:39 PM

    Just have to tell you that the recipe is awesome!!! My family loved it.

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    Shelley Evers — March 2, 2014 @ 4:32 PM

    Made this for dinner tonight – awesome and easy. I used my homemade sauce but am sure I would love it with Prego too! I also added a little fresh ground nutmeg to the cheese mixture. Yummy……thanks for the recipe! P.S. Pastry bag worked great for me.

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    Sheridan — March 8, 2014 @ 6:52 PM

    I noticed the pasta was a bit aldente. I had them snug in the pan, next time will make sure there is space to allow sauce to boil and cook all over the pasta.

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    Renay — March 25, 2014 @ 8:49 PM

    Actually made this exact recipe tonight. Was delish. The only thing I would suggest is a thinner sauce.

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    sandra macphail — March 29, 2014 @ 2:26 PM

    can you buy gluten free manicotti in canada

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    Lori Lange — March 31, 2014 @ 8:09 AM

    I live in the US, so I am not familiar with anything that is available in Canada. Sorry!

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    Stephanie — April 1, 2014 @ 1:37 PM

    Been making this for years and never thought to use a pastry bag or leave the noodles uncooked!

    We also but shredded chicken in our cheese/spinach mixture and top with Alfredo sauce just to mix it up.

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    Natalie — April 7, 2014 @ 4:25 PM

    These were fantastic! I used a knife to stuff the uncooked shells, and it worked great although timely :)

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    Amber Howard — April 22, 2014 @ 1:22 AM

    Sounds Amazing! Any nutrition info on this recipe?

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    Lori Lange — April 22, 2014 @ 8:31 PM

    No. But I typically use the Spark People Recipe Calculator when I want to figure something out. I recommend you use that.

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    Jim — May 9, 2014 @ 9:28 AM

    Just put this together and put in in the fridge. I doubled the recipe because of the “crowd” that is coming over. I will let you know how mine turned out!

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    Dawn — June 2, 2014 @ 3:13 PM

    Lori’s recipe truly is perfection, but a a nice variation to this is, add one pound ( or package) sweet Italian sausage, out of skins, cooked ground up and add to cheese mixture. I like to stuff jumbo shells on occasion. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 cup red wine to spaghetti sauce. Garnish with fresh basil when done.

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    Dawn — June 2, 2014 @ 3:18 PM

    I also add a few shakes of nutmeg to the cheese mixture. My kids love this dish and i have been making it since Lori first published. A big hit in my household!

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    Lori Lange — June 5, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

    so happy to hear!

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    Deb — June 29, 2014 @ 6:04 PM

    Since we are only a family of 2 – can left-overs be frozen for reheating at a later date? Dying to try it – recipe looks GREAT!

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    Lori Lange — July 1, 2014 @ 11:50 AM


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    Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents — September 15, 2014 @ 4:31 PM

    Holy yum. This was utterly amazing. Even my pasta haters ate every bite! I love that the noodles don’t have to be cooked first. This dish is worth every bit of effort. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta because that’s what I had. And I added 1 cup of cooked chicken. Because of that I had some extra filling so I just baked it and plan on using it for a quesadilla filling. I went ahead and made two of these so I could have one for the freezer. Thank you!!

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    shelley — October 15, 2014 @ 9:12 AM

    would 1lb. of sausage be to much for this recipe?

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    Lori Lange — October 17, 2014 @ 9:15 AM

    Not sure!~

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    Karen — October 28, 2014 @ 3:38 PM

    Have u ever tried this w/out the cream cheese?

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    Lori Lange — October 29, 2014 @ 9:21 AM

    I have not, but I would think it would be good without still!

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    Viki — November 20, 2014 @ 8:37 PM

    Wow wow ….I’m simply blown away with this delicious recipe. The only thing that was difficult was the filling part, as I tried both the ziplock bag and plastic bag but both of them kept on tearing at the open end ever time u sqezzed to fill the shells ????…. But otherwise an fantastic dish …. U MUST TRY IT !!!!

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    Gilly — December 1, 2014 @ 6:37 PM

    Do you put all the mozzarella and a 1/2 cup of Parmesan in the filling? I could quite tell from pic and instructions just say “cheeses” soi wanted to be sure. Thank you

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    Lori Lange — December 3, 2014 @ 9:46 AM

    yes, all of those cheeses that are listed together go in the filling. Then there is more Parmesan that will be sprinkled on top.

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    Carolyn Watson — December 20, 2014 @ 5:42 PM

    Do you have a recipe for homemade sauce. The bottled ones give me indigestion. Would love a simple sauce recipe. I think it is the tomato paste in the bought ones. Cheers

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    Lori Lange — December 21, 2014 @ 6:47 AM

    I do, but this one is made from canned tomatoes: http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/03/09/homemade-marinara-sauce/

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    Louis Crecchio — December 29, 2014 @ 5:34 PM

    Are you saying their is no need to boil the pasta first?

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    Lori Lange — December 30, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

    Yes, no need.

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    Russell Schiappacasse — January 9, 2015 @ 5:49 AM

    Above recipe needs some herbs for added flavour! What can you suggest?
    Marjoram, oregano, garlic summer savory, nutmeg?

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    Darien — January 11, 2015 @ 6:52 AM

    This meal was amazing! I love manicotti and this was the first time I have actually made it. I definitely recommend this recipe. Making it again soon!

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    Brooke — January 15, 2015 @ 7:21 PM

    So much easier than I thought it would be! I loved it and thought it was great, I did omit the spinach though. My husband isn’t sold on it, but at least he said it was ok. I will definitely make again.