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baked manicottiSometimes being stuck in a rut is a good thing.

Right now I’m craving hearty, home-style dishes that smell good even before they come out of the oven.

Take this recipe for rustic manicotti.  I spied it over here and I was smitten.

Never mind that I made this not long ago and shared it with you all.

Apparently, I wanted (no, I think I needed) more goodness in the form of baked manicotti, or as AnnaShortcakes calls, it rustic manicotti.

It’s just delicious.

So, yes I am in a rut of sorts.  A baked pasta rut.

And, I’m loving every minute of it.

Follow along with me today and then I’ll encourage you to go over and get her original recipe.  If you’re in a hurry, look for the link at the end of this post.

mixing together two cheeses

You know you’re in good shape when ricotta cheese is mixed together with shredded Parmagiano Reggiano.

homemade meat sauce

Here’s the homemade sauce.  I think the only thing I did differently is I put the beef and Italian sausage into my sauce instead of into the cheese filling.  I really have no specific reason, but I wanted to come clean as I did make that one change.

stuffing manicotti

And, you’ll use that wonderful cheese mixture (which also has garlic, parsley and a pinch of crushed red pepper) to stuff your manicotti shells.

Did I mention it’s okay if they split while they’re in the boiling water?  Because they do.  They always do.

Just fill them anyway and place them into your baking dish.

They’ll be hiding under a blanket of homemade sauce and mozzarella and only you’ll know that little secret.

stuffed manicotti before baking

Here they are sitting on top of a little sauce in my baking dish.

covering the stuffed manicotti with sauce

Now, you’re ready to spoon over the remaining homemade meat sauce and then top with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Place it into your 375 degree preheated oven.

baked cheese manicotti with meat sauce

I added a little chopped parsley after it came out of the oven.

baked rustic manicotti with meat sauce

We enjoyed this so much.

I know exactly what you’re thinking:  you want to make this for dinner tonight.

That’s great news!  Simply click here to go get the recipe.  You’ll be so glad you did.