Make-Ahead Cheese and Tomato Manicotti

This decadent and elegant dish is perfect for a main-dish vegetarian option.

Serves: 10Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 1 hour 40 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 10


  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 box (8 oz.) manicotti shells
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 bags (8 oz.) shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped basil, divided
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) marinara pasta sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large stockpot over high heat, bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add salt and manicotti shells and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Drain and lay shells on a sheet pan to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Stir in egg, 3 tablespoons basil, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Stir in 1 bag of Italian cheese blend.
  • Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in bottom of medium baking dish. Using a small spoon, stuff the manicotti shells with cheese mixture. Nestle the stuffed shells into the prepared baking dish as you make them. Cover the shells with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 55 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining bag of Italian cheese blend; bake for 15 to 25 minutes longer, or until manicotti is tender when tested with fork.