Manicotti and Cheese Casserole


1 lb manicotti, or other medium-sized pasta
1 mixture
Cheese Sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon cayenne

  • Prepare Cheese Sauce according to directions given in our recipe.
  • In a large pot with salted water, boil the manicotti al dente; don't overcook it -- it will cook more in the oven.
  • Combine 1 cup bread crumbs and  1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Butter a 5 quart casserole, bottom and sides. Dump the crumb-and-cheese mixture into the casserole and shake and tap it all around so that all the surfaces are covered. You can even pat it into place to help things out. The bulk of the crumbs will not adhere; pour them back into the small bowl and reserve.
  • Preheat the oven to 325º F (about 165º C).
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta and the Cheese Sauce. Stir it up.
  • Pour all the manicotti and cheese into the casserole; don't stir it, or you'll disturb the crumbs!
  • Spread the remaining crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Depending on the size of your pan, you probably won't need all the crumbs; use only a thin layer unless you're going to dot them liberally with butter: too thick a layer of unbuttered crumbs will just be dry and dusty. Dust generously with paprika and cayenne.
  • Bake the casserole, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, until crusty and bubbling. Serve immediately.
This is a traditional tasty pasta and cheese, baked with a crust. Makes 6 servings.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
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