Four Cheese Manicotti with Meat Sauce

two stuffed manicotti being lifted from the pan.

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This cheesy baked manicotti recipe has a couple of shortcuts that take an otherwise fussy dish to a deliciously simple level. Plus, you can make it ahead to make life even easier.


  • 1 (8-ounce) box manicotti
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 (22-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Asiago cheese
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Brown the sausage in a large pan over medium heat. Add the marinara and parsley and stir to combine. Adjust the heat to low while you prepare the manicotti.
  3. Mix the ricotta cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper with 2 cups of the asiago cheese, 1 ½ cups of the mozzarella, and 1 ½ cups of the Parmesan. Reserve the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan for sprinkling over the top of the stuffed pasta and sauce.
  4. Coat the bottom of a 9×13” baking pan with a thin layer of the meat sauce. Stuff each uncooked manicotti (see note) with the cheese filling. Place them in a single layer in the prepared pan.
  5. Pour the meat sauce over the top of the stuffed manicotti and spread it over the top of the pasta so it’s covered. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan over the top.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and bake the manicotti for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake it for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the extra parsley over the top for garnish. Let it stand for a few minutes at room temperature before serving.


You don’t have to boil the pasta first. Just stuff each manicotti shell with the filling – once you cover them with the sauce and cheese, they will cook in the oven.

When I stuff manicotti, I take small spoonfuls of the filling and press it into the shells with my fingers. I’ve tried piping it, but the filling is very thick, and you end up wasting some of the filling because it gets stuck in the bag. 

There is enough filling to fill 14 manicotti. I haven’t had a problem with the filling running out of the shells while they bake – it’s pretty thick, and the egg holds it all together, so it doesn’t melt too much. So, go ahead and stuff the shells completely full with the filling – you don’t need to leave space at the ends. There is a picture in the post if you want to see what the dry shells look like stuffed with filling.

You can assemble the manicotti a day ahead. Get them in the pan, cover them with the sauce, and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Tightly cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake it. Leave it out at room temperature while you preheat the oven. You may need to add an extra five minutes of baking time, as well.

For more tips, tricks, and variations, see the recipe post!