beef and cheese manicotti

prep time:  15 minutes
cook time:  40 minutes
servings 6

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion - coarsley chopped
1 pound ground beef
14 manicotti (8-ounce package)
1 15-ounce container ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
q cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh italian parsely leaves
2 garlic cloves - minced
3 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons butter - cut into pieces

1.  heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat.  add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef.  season with salt and pepper.  saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  remove from the heat and cool.

2.  brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet.  cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the touch, about 4 - 6 minutes.  using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

3.  meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 - 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup paremsan and parsley.  add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and mix.  stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

4.  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  bruch the remaining 2 teasopon of oil over a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.  spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.  fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture.  arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

5.  sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan over the stuffed pasta.  dot entire dish with butter pieces.  bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 - 35 minutes.  let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

- food network

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