Man, Oh Man…icotti!

Tired of baked ziti and eggplant parmesan? Try some of our favorite dairy recipes using manicotti. This large tube-like pasta is perfect for holding cheeses, tomato sauce, vegetables and a host of other ingredients.

Manicotti is an Italian American pasta used to recreate Italian dishes that were traditionally made with crepes. Using manicotti saves the work of preparing crepes for these filled dishes.

Goat Cheese Manicotti

1 box manicotti

2 tablespoons light olive oil

2 large Spanish onions, diced

1 box fresh white button mushrooms, diced

2 tablespoons chives, checked and chopped

8 ounces goat cheese

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

16 ounces marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought, divided

Preheat your oven to 350°. Fill a 6-quart pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Heat a large skillet over a medium-low flame. Add oil and onions. Cook onions on low heat, stirring often until they caramelize. Once the onions are cooked, add the mushrooms and sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a large mixing spoon or a mixer set on low, add chives and goat cheese. When the cheese is soft and creamy, add ricotta, 1/3 cup of parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add manicotti pasta to the boiling water. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain well. Prepare a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Fill the bag halfway with the cheese mixture.

Pour 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Carefully pipe the filling into the center of each manicotti tube.

Lay the filled manicotti on top of the sauce in a neat row. Cover with 1 more cup tomato sauce, and 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake manicotti for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Salmon Manicotti

This dish is light, flavorful, and even those who shy away from fish will enjoy it.

1 box manicotti

For sauce:

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the salmon:

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

30 ounces salmon fillet cubes

Make the sauce:

Heat butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Butter will foam; cook until foam subsides. Add flour; cook, whisking, 2 minutes. Add wine and water in a slow stream, whisking, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in cream, zest, and pepper, and then remove from heat.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add kosher salt. Cook manicotti until al dente — about 12 minutes. Drain and allow manicotti to dry a bit.

Heat butter in a large skillet. Add shallots and sauté until golden. Add salmon cubes and cook just until seared on the outside, 2–3 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425° F. Butter a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread half of sauce in dish.

Pack salmon mixture into manicotti, pushing toward the center. Place in the baking dish, arranging to fit all. Spoon the remaining sauce over the manicotti.

Bake until the salmon is just cooked through and the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.