Easy 4-Cheese Mini Manicotti
Have you ever heard of mini manicotti? Let me just say, miniaturizing food makes it taste better. 😉 I don’t know why, but it just does. These Easy 4-Cheese Mini Manicotti are miniature versions of a traditional, cheese filled manicotti, only smaller, bite-sized. Having mini manicotti is a fun and delicious way to serve a cheese-filled pasta the whole family will enjoy.
I was hoping to get this post up yesterday. Unfortunately, sometimes life throws us for a loop and we have to go with the flow. My little BooBaw was very sick with a fever and chills yesterday, which made it almost impossible to get anything done. So, what did I do? I took the day “off” and held her, and when she went down for a nap, I made this delicious cheese-filled recipe. I’m glad to report she’s doing much better today.
Had you ever heard of mini manicotti before now? If I had come across a mini manicotti recipe years ago, I never would have made them because I would have thought they’d be painstakingly hard to make. Being a mama of three under 5-years-old means, I need quick and easy meals to make. I’ve made this recipe an easy one. My little ladies gobble it right up. Pasta and cheese, where could you go wrong?
So there’s a funny story behind this mini manicotti recipe. My sister makes delicious manicotti. She planned to make a batch a few weeks ago but didn’t have the manicotti noodles. She had recently had foot surgery and had asked her husband to run to the store to pick up the missing supplies. When he came back with groceries in hand, he bought penne pasta instead of manicotti noodles. (This is what would happen if I sent my husband for something like this. 😉 )
When my sister realized her husband had bought the wrong pasta she ditched the manicotti idea and made something else. My brother-in-law’s comment to this was, “why not make mini manicotti?” Knowing that she would have to stuff each noodle, my sister was frustrated for him even thinking this. When I heard this story I literally laughed out loud because I could totally relate to what my sister was thinking. Have you ever had a moment like this? Maybe I’m a little crazy in making this recipe but it turned out great.
To make this recipe quick and easy, I used uncooked rigatoni pasta. Rigatoni pasta is larger than penne and can be stuffed using a Wilton No. 12 round piping tip. This sped up the pasta-stuffing process by a lot. Using uncooked pasta also made this recipe much quicker. Working with hard noodles instead of soft helped the stuffing part go smoothly. The pasta was submerged under the sauce to allow it to cook through during the baking process.
It’s not the fastest dinner ever but for manicotti, it’s fairly quick. It took me about an hour or so to go from raw ingredients to dinner-is-served. That’s with 45-50 minutes bake time. Okay, now that I have you interested (or you wouldn’t still be reading), here’s the ingredients I used in my Easy Four-Cheese Mini Manicotti recipe. Can you guess which four kinds of cheese I used?
For the first step, I mixed the four different kinds of cheese. Did you guess ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and cream cheese? If you did, great job! A side note with the mozzarella cheese, make sure to use fancy or fine shredded because it will be piped it into rigatoni pasta. Using regular shredded cheese might make the piping tip get clogged. Next, I added the eggs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the cheese mixture and mixed until it was blended. That’s it for the four-cheese filling.
Next, I scooped the cheese mixture into a Ziploc that has a Wilton No. 12 round piping tip on the end. You could also use a piping bag. I love using disposable piping bags or a Ziploc back for easy cleanup. The tip I used had a 1/4-inch round opening which was the perfect size to stuff the rigatoni pasta. Using the cheese-filling bag with piping tip, I piped the cheese filling into the uncooked rigatoni pasta. I put the cheese-filled pasta into a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Then I poured the spaghetti sauce into a large container. I filled the empty jar with hot water and mix it into the spaghetti sauce. I poured the sauce mixture over the stuffed pasta.
As you can see, it will look very soupy. As the pasta cooks, the liquid will be absorbed and only a small about of sauce will be left.
I baked the pasta for 45-50 minutes until the noodles were cooked through. I love garnishing pasta with cheese and fresh basil and that’s just what I did.
These Four-Cheese Mini Manicotti are such a fun way to enjoy cheese-stuffed pasta.
While I was making this I came up with this idea, an Easy 4-Cheese “Mini”cotti Appetizer. How fun is this?!?! They would make a fantastic appetizer at your next party.
My girls loved eating them from a stick and so did I. It made them feel a little more special. 🙂
Do you have a fun family-favorite pasta recipe?
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