Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti Recipe

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 2, edited

After a fabulous welcome last week at I Heart Cooking Clubs for our new chef, Giada de Laurentiis, this week we're serving it up family style.  With potentially a pasta dish in mind, I went trawling online for a suitable recipe and came across Giada's recipe for Beef & Cheese Manicotti.  The recipe is from her Everyday Italian book, but you can also find it online here.

Now, this recipe does have a few steps to it and may seem a bit complicated for a mid-week meal, but in fact each one of those steps really takes no time at all, and there is plenty that can be prepared in advance.  That said, I had actually decided last weekend (when I made my menu plan for the week) that I was going to have this for dinner on Thursday night, so I scheduled little tasks ahead of time, and with just that little bit of forward planning this turned out to be the perfect "ready-to-go", mid-week meal by the time Thursday rolled around.  Here's what I did ...

Tuesday, I made the ricotta - time taken, approximately 15 minutes, and then leave it alone for an hour.  Of course, this is an entirely unnecessary step and store bought ricotta is perfectly fine, but if you have 15 minutes to spare the satisfaction gained from making your own far outweighs the time invested.  You can read more about my homemade ricotta here.)

Homemade Ricotta 2, edited

Wednesday, I took the last pot of marinara sauce I made at the end of last summer out of the freezer to thaw - time taken, approximately 15 seconds.  Use any marinara sauce you like - quite coincidentally the recipe I used to make mine was one of Giada's that I found on the Food Network website here.

I also began my filling - the original recipe called for beef, but having decided I wanted a vegetarian version I simply subbed mushrooms in place of the ground beef.  Chopping and slicing shallots & mushrooms, and then sauteeing until starting to brown and soften - about 15 minutes.  While the mushrooms are cooling the rest of the filling ingredients can be prepared and then the whole lot can be refrigerated till the next day.

Thursday, I made the manicotti - now you could buy those shells that you stuff, but these were so quick and easy to make that it would have taken me longer to go out and buy the shells.  What's more it is a heck of a lot easier to roll your filling up in these than it is trying to pfaff (is that a real word?) around boiling and then trying to stuff  those manicotti tubes.  Making batter and cooking the manicotti - time taken, about 10-15 minutes - I adapted this recipe from Jaime & Jen Dish for the manicotti.

Then filling the manicotti and assembling the dish took just a few minutes more.  Now I had dinner ready to go in the oven as soon as I finished work - 30 minutes in the oven (just enough time to dress a few salad leaves and pour a glass of wine) and dinner was served.

Truly, if you follow this process logically, it's not a difficult or arduous dish and I'm pretty sure you will find that this will be a real family favourite - I know for sure that I will be making this again (many times) and it will definitely be a "go to" dish when I have to feed a crowd.  I really hope you make it for your family - I know you won't be disappointed.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
Serves 4-6

For the filling:
olive oil for frying
2 shallots
500g (1lb) button mushrooms, sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
400g (15oz) ricotta
3 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the manicotti (makes about 10-12):
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water
generous pinch of salt

To assemble:
3 cups marinara sauce

First make the filling.  Heat approximately 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add shallots and mushrooms to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and saute until the mushrooms begin to soften and release their juices.  Keep cooking until the mushrooms have re-absorbed most of the liquid.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, two-thirds of the mozzarella, half the parmesan, and the parsley.  Add the garlic, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  When cooled, add the mushroom mixture to the cheese mixture and combine well.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 9, edited

Now, onto the manicotti.  Sift flour and salt into a bowl, and make a well in the centre.  Whisk eggs and water together in a small jug, then pour slowly into the flour, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth, lump-free batter which has roughly the consistency of runny cream.  Add a little more water if it is too thick.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 8, edited

Heat a pan over high heat and, using a small "dob" of butter on a paper towel, lightly grease the pan.  I suggest you begin by cooking off just a teaspoon of the mixture and then tasting so that you can adjust the salt in the batter if necessary.  Now ladle in a large spoonful of batter into the pan and immediately swirl it around to form a circle.  As soon as the surface of the manicotti looks "dry" and it is starting to lift around the edges (probably about 45-60 seconds), flip it over and cook the other side which will really only take about half as much time (possibly even less).  Remove to a plate, and keep cooking the manicotti one at a time, greasing the pan in between each one.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 6, edited

Unless you are doing these in advance, you could be preheating your oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) while you are cooking the manicotti.

To assemble the dish, grease a 23cm x 34cm (9in x 11in) baking dish, and spoon half of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the dish.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 7, edited

Fill the manicotti by spooning some of the mushroom and cheese mixture in a line down the centre of the manicotti and then rolling it up like a pancake.  Then arrange the filled pasta, seam side down, in a single layer on top of the marinara sauce.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 5, edited

Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the top, and then cover with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.  Dot little pieces of butter all over the top.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 4, edited

Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven until everything is hot and bubbling, all the cheese has melted, and the top is golden brown - about 30 minutes.

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 3, edited

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for about 5 minutes before serving - that wait will be tough, but it will be so worth it!!

Mushroom & Cheese Manicotti 1, edited

Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better?  Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....


.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ

Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites    Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California    Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes

I'm also submitting this post to the Hearth and Soul blog hop, a place where you'll find lots of wonderful people who are passionate about great food and cooking from the heart - do go and have a look at what they're all cooking this week.


  1. What a fabulous dish!! I love that everything is homemade. Good for you. I wish I could be more like you, lol. I make Giada's marinara sauce all the time, it's my favourite. This looks so delicious, I can't even tell you. Great recipe!

  2. This looks wonderful. I, too, love her recipes. Bob and I have begun our travels so my visits will be sporadic for a while. I'll visit regularly on my return. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. Oh wow, what an amazing dish! I love manicotti and have never tried it with mushrooms (which are a favorite) -- what a perfect combination you came up with, it sounds so delicious, and looks incredible. The homemade ricotta takes it over the top! What a great pick for this week at IHCC :)

  4. SOLD! My guys would swoon over this, am marking it now to try soon. Your process photos are really great...the whole post is just wonderful, thank you!

  5. That filling looks wonderful. Love the sub of mushrooms. You really went above & beyond making both the ricotta and manicotti yourself.

  6. Wow, Sue...this is a fabulous recipe. I love that you're making your own ricotta all the time now...that makes me smile :) I really want to try making my own manicotti wrappers, as well...they look perfect. Overall YUM! :D Glad you'll be sharing it with the hearth and soul hop this week, too!

  7. Brenda - thank you so much for such lovely comments. I made lots of Giada's marinara sauce when tomatoes were plentiful and mixed them in with the tinned ones. This used up my last pot of it, so time to start making more, since a few pots of this is in the freezer is a real lifesaver!

    Mary - thanks for visiting. Hope you and Bob enjoy your travels and look forward to hearing from you when you return.

    Thanks Andrea - this was the first time I'd ever eaten manicotti - gotta say I'm pretty hooked on them now. Actually making the ricotta was probably the easiest part.

    Thanks Kayte - yes, I'm pretty sure they will swoon alright. Hope you make it soon.

    MM - thanks - the mushrooms make a great sub for the meat, since mushroom have that meaty texture and savouriness. Epecially good way I think to get meat lovers to eat a vegetarian meal and not feel cheated.

    Heather - thank you so much - am totally hooked on ricotta making now, and as for manicotti wrappers - they're a breeeze. Would be rude not to share, now wouldn't it :-)


  8. I just adore Giada! This looks delicious!My vegetarian family members will love it with the mushrooms. A great idea.:)

  9. Cake Duchess - thanks for your visit - I'm pleased to meet another big Giada fan - this meal is great for vegetarians, and meat lovers won't miss the meat either :-)

    Alessandra - thank you so much, and thanks for visting.


  10. So impressive with the homemade ricotta and the wrappers too--and it looks so delicious! I would happily have this for dinner every night. Great pick! ;-)

  11. Wow, what a lovely dish you're serving us this week. Homemade ricotta makes me a little jealous, so now i want to try it.

  12. This is a WOW dish. Kudos to you for making your own ingredients. You are talented and I am in awe.

  13. Loving this one! I am now convinced I can try making the homemade ricotta. Been afraid to try until this post. Thanks for the courage boost.

  14. Hi Deb - thanks so much - swing by sometime and I would happily make this for you for dinner :-)

    Yvette - thanks for visiting - hope you give the ricotta a try.

    Sweet & Savoury - thank you so much for such a lovely, lovely comment. The thing I love about this is that it actually looks and sounds way more impressive than it is - but I'll happily take a bow all the same. Thanks again :-)

    Carla & Michael - Hi, thanks for visiting - go on, give it a try - you can definitely do this!

    Sue :-)

  15. You had me at mushrooms. This looks wonderful and I love that you have broken it down into "do-ahead" steps. It looks delicious.

  16. What a great and completely homemade meal. Lovely, simply lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Hi Bonnie - Thanks for visiting & your lovely comment. I definitely found that breaking this down into methodical little steps made this a totally "doable" dish even on a week night.

    Thank you so much Melynda. It was deeply satisfying to make - and to eat I might add :-)


  18. Mmm, that is pure love right there! I love that you made your own ricotta for it, and the mushrooms were a fabulous idea! Delicious dish.

  19. Thank you so much Natshya. Now that I've gotten into this "cheese making" lark, I've been making a batch of ricotta every week, and then I make a second batch from the reserved whey. Makes me feel so pleased with myself :-)


  20. This looks really good I can tell you put alot of
    effort into it!

  21. I was nodding, yes, yes, I could do that until the noodles - then I got scared. Noodles, I can't make noodles! but with your instructions I believe I could - thank you so much for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  22. I love how you have made this recipe your own - it sounds just delicious. And I can't get over that you made your own ricotta - that is wonderful!!

  23. Cheryl - thank you so much and thanks for visiting.

    Hi Christy - thanks for visiting - I promise, you absolutely can make those manicotti (truly, if I can do it anybody can - I don't joke), and once made they are way easier to use than the bought shells.

    April - thanks. Yes it really was very delicious, and the homemade ricotta was a breeze.

    Sue :-)

  24. Looks wonderful! Stopping by from the H 'n S Blog Hop. Would love to have you join my Thursday Carnival....

    Around My Family Table

  25. Hi Suzy Q! I love love love how you made this recipe your own and broke it down into easy steps. A little bit of planning ahead made it such a wonderful experience eh? The manicotti's look absolutely mouthwatering! Thanks so much for sharing this on the hearth and soul hop and for your lovely shining self! :) Hugs! Alex

  26. Thanks Wendy - and thanks for visiting.

    Hi Alex - the planning was the key to this really - made the whole thing so effortless, and also very satisfying.

    Sue :-)

  27. Hi Sue,
    I highlighted this in my Linky Love post for the Hearth and Soul Hop! Thanks again for a great post!
    Christy ;o]

  28. Hi Christy - thank you so much for including me in your round-up - really appreciate the linky love :-)


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