Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I have been sorting through recipes trying to come up with some very hearty dishes to feed the guys that are budget friendly and fit into my use less meat formula.  This is one that fit that criteria.  I believe I got this out of one of Lidia Bastianich's recipe books.  I check things like this out of the library.  If your family loves Italian Lidia is a great resource to go to for Italian cuisine that can feed a crowd.  

1 lb. fresh ricotta cheese
26 ounce Tomato sauce 
8 ounce Manicotti
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) fresh mozzarella (cubed)
1 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated)
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon white pepper freshly ground)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (grated)

Spoon ricotta into a large colander lined with a coffee filter and drain for at least a 1/2 hour.
(If you are using a standard container of ricotta from your dairy section you can skip this step)  I did it and the regular ricotta doesn't drain much liquid out. 
*You don't need to precook manicotti shells.
Whisk the eggs and salt together in a large bowl until foamy.  Add the ricotta, the mozarella cubes, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, parsley, pepper, and nutmeg.  (Also, with the spices I just used regular dried parsley, ground nutmeg, and black pepper here to save money.)  Stir until well blended.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat bottom of 13x9 pan with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.  Spoon 3 tbsp. of ricotta filling into the manicotti. (To stuff manicotti the easiest way is to put the filling into a zip lock bag and snip the corner off and squeeze.)  Put the filled shells into the pan.  Spoon remaining sauce over shells.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Cover and bake with loose foil for 20 minutes.  Uncover and spread the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan over the manicotti and bake for 20 minutes more.
* Note: (Now everywhere it says fresh, although that would be wonderful, I just used what is standard in American groceries.  That saves a lot of money not buying the fresh gourmet versions of the cheese.)

For the tomato sauce I used a can of the most inexpensive spaghetti sauce, it is only 99 cents.  That also made this a more thrifty dish.  I used what I had, like eggs, to make this but, you will have to buy the special cheeses and pasta.
So how did the cost per serving come out?
Ricotta $2.29
Manicotti shells 1.98
Mozzarella $2.38
Parmesan $2.29 (with a coupon)  
sauce $.99
Total $9.93 
Comes out to $1.66 per serving
serves 6/ makes 18 manicotti
So there you have an Italian dish that can serve a crowd inexpensively.  My kids just love it with all that cheesy goodness.
I will link this to: 
Friday Food at Mom Trends
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Thriving on Thursdays  at Domesblissity
On the Menu Monday at Stonegable 
Rooted in Thyme Simple and Sweet Fridays
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
A Pinteresting Party  at Tutus & Tea Parties
Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter


Nancy said...

Sounds yummy, think I might have to try it. You have inspired me to start making cheaper food dishes. The prices have just gotten out of hand! I made a potato, onion, sausage and green chili dish yesterday that was awesome! Keep up the good work!! Blessings to you!


One of my fav dishes in Little Italy was..Manicotti! (I am a NYorker)I love, love it and your recipe sounds fabulous. I am trying to send it to hubby, so he can copy it for me and that "WORD VERIFICATION" is driving me crazy, as I copy it perfect and doesn't want to go; it's upsetting cause I can't send comments to some blogger friends too! Thanks for the recipe, my friend.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What a great meal and I love how you broke down the cost!

Sylvia said...

It looks so delicious, Sherry !
Thanks for your nice comment on my blog post,

Unknown said...

That looks absolutely fantastic!!!! I am drooling now, thanks for sharing this!


Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

that's sound just about right! I love manicotti!!!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

We love Italian food and I have never tried to make manicotti...My hubby's mother was Italian and she made such wonderful manicotti that I could never bring myself to make it as hers was so delicious...Love your recipe and I would love to try it!

Stan and Jody Gabara said...

Sherry, Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe on Simple & Sweet Fridays.


Lauren said...

Look so yummy! Thank you for sharing at our
Pinteresting Party!