Four Cheese Manicotti with Meat Sauce

Four Cheese Manicotti with Meat Sauce in a baking dish
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Hearty and comforting baked manicotti that can be made up to a day in advance.



For the Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (24-ounce) can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes (see note)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Pasta

  • 1 ten-count box of manicotti
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2  cup shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup shredded provolone, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef, onion, and garlic. Cook the beef until it’s browned. Add the balsamic and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan while it simmers. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup of water, oregano, and salt. Stir and bring the pan to a simmer.  Simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes, ideally up to an hour.
  2. In a separate pot, boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and toss it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of provolone, 1/2 cup parmesan, egg, parsley, thyme leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Transfer the cheese filling to a resealable bag. Seal the bag and then cut off one of the bottom corners (enough to make a 2-inch opening).
  4. Coat the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with some of the meat sauce. Fill each manicotti with the cheese filling and place them in the baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the pasta. Top the sauce with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup of provolone, and 1/4 cup of parmesan. Cover the dish with foil. At this point, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day.
  5. Bake the manicotti at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let it stand for five minutes or so before serving.


It helps to squish the tomatoes before adding them to the sauce. Place them in a bowl and, using your hands, give them a quick squish to break them up. Add them plus all the juices from the can to the pan with the beef.


Keywords: stuffed manicotti, beef manicotti recipe