Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Easy Weeknight String Cheese-Stuffed Manicotti

This is the quickest, easiest baked pasta dish that you'll probably ever make. {And, it only uses five ingredients.} With only about ten minutes of hands-on prep time {no need to even pre-boil the pasta}, you can toss this in the oven while you whip up a quick side salad and maybe get some garlic bread made up. It's perfect for busy weeknights and is an extremely kid-friendly dinner option.

This no-frills and no-fuss baked manicotti recipe really couldn't be easier. After a quick soak in hot water, the pasta shells get stuffed with string cheese before being baked off in a sea of good-quality, store-bought marinara sauce. A sprinkling of shredded mozzarella atop it all ensures an end result of bubbly, gooey, cheesy goodness amidst all that sauce - everything that a good pasta bake should be.

NOTE: Preparation of the pasta following my recipe directions yields al dente manicotti {still slightly firm}. If your family prefers very soft, almost mushy pasta, you may desire to boil noodles according to manicotti package instructions - ending the cooking a couple of minutes shy of the recommended time on package - prior to assembly of the dish.

Yields 4 - 5 servings.


1 package manicotti (ten manicotti tubes are needed}
Non-stick spray
1 jar {20 - 22 ounces} good-quality marinara sauce
10 sticks mozzarella string cheese, unwrapped
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a 9 x 13" cake pan {or similar style pan} with very hot tap water about halfway.

Lay manicotti in water. Soak five minutes. Turn pasta over. Soak additional five minutes. {See NOTE above.}

Meanwhile, coat a 9 x 13" or similar baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread half of the sauce into the bottom of pan.

Stuff one string cheese into each manicotti. Arrange in a single layer in baking dish.

Top manicotti with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is thoroughly melted. Remove from oven, top with chopped basil and serve immediately.


  1. So excited to try this I just know my kids will love it and it looks so easy.

  2. Great manicotti prep tip!!

  3. do you add additional water to make sure the pasta is cooked?

    1. I address this in the beginning paragraphs of the post. If you like your pasta more on the well-done mushy side, you can choose to boil the shells for a bit prior to the assembly of the dish. Otherwise, they turn out a little al dente. That is my family's preference. Furthermore, you probably could splash in a little water to the casserole dish if the doneness of the pasta is something that concerns you.

  4. Boil the pasta for 5 minutes first then follow Recipe would that work for a softer pasta. I read your notes but still need to know. This will be served to dinner guests

  5. Thats how im going to try it dont like it undercooked or over cooked

  6. I added 1/2 cup of water to the sauce jar to get all of the sauce and add some moisture. I also cooked a pound of sweet Italian sausage and put it on top of the padta & sauce, then added the mozzarella