Easy Broccoli-Stuffed Manicotti Casserole

>> Sunday, April 6, 2014

Broccoli-Stuffed Manicotti Casserole

Just like one of our previous presidents, I am not a big fan of broccoli. It isn't just the fact that broccoli is one of those cruciferous (members of the mustard family) vegetables like cabbage or Brussels sprouts, and those veggies make terrible explosions in my stomach. It's just that I don't like the taste too much. When our daughters were young, I used to buy giant cans of cheese sauce to drizzle over their vegetables to encourage them to eat more. I always want to drown my broccoli in a gallon of cheese sauce.

But Joe brought home a bag of large manicotti tubes and some beautiful fresh broccoli, and set about making a quick and easy casserole even I would love. He picked me up from work the other night, and I was dead tired but I could smell a glorious fragrance of pomodoro sauce in his clothes. The end result was a cheap, delicious, and fairly low-fat casserole that only tasted of broccoli in a good way.

Large manicotti shells
Large pasta shells work just as well as large manicotti tubes.


1 box jumbo manicotti or pasta shells
1 1/2 cups broccoli
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano, or 1 1/2 tsp fresh
1/2 tsp dried basil, or 1 1/2 tsp fresh
3 cups Basic Tomato Sauce or canned pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, on the firm side of "done". Drain and set aside. Grease a 9x11 pan and spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Finely chop the broccoli and steam in the microwave or on the stove until cooked but slightly crisp, then set aside.

Place the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, oregano, and basil in a thick gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze the contents so that the ingredients mix well (if you have little ones around, this is a great job for them to do!). Add the broccoli and squeeze again until well mixed. Then, squeeze the filling into one corner of the plastic bag.

Broccoli-ricotta filling for manicotti
This filling looks blue-tinged because the plastic bag was light blue.

Snip the corner off the plastic bag, then squeeze out an equal amount of ricotta filling into each piece of pasta.  Arrange the filled pasta in the baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, then sprinkle with cheese.

Broccoli-Ricotta stuffed pasta

Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10-15 more minutes, until the casserole is heated through and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 4-6.


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