Jake Smollett

Cheesy Herb Manicotti Casserole

Jake Smollett
Cheesy Herb Manicotti Casserole


1 LB block sharp white cheddar cheese (shredded; 4 cups firmly packed)

1/2 LB block smoked white cheddar cheese (shredded; 2 cups firmly packed)

Two 8oz packages of manicotti pasta (21 manicotti tubes used for the casserole)

Pesto Recipe

1/4 cup chopped oregano

1/3 cup chopped basil

2 TBSP pine nuts

1-1/2 TBSP Kraft powdered parmesan cheese

6 TBSP whole milk

1/4 TSP salt

Crunchy Topping

1/2 TBSP dried basil flakes

1/2 TBSP dried oregano

1 TSP chili flakes

1/2 cup Kraft parmesan cheese

1/2 cup traditional panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup whole milk for edges of pan


Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot for the manicotti pasta. Drain in cold water. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Shred the cheese and mix the sharp and smoked cheddar cheese together in a large bowl. Then start preparing your pesto. Chop the oregano and basil then add the chopped herbs to a food processor along with the pine nuts, milk, parmesan cheese, and salt. Once the pesto is a nice paste like consistency you are ready to begin assembling the casserole. In a 9x13 inch baking dish lay down one layer of manicotti pasta. Open the manicotti pasta tubes creating a similar lasagna flat pasta. Lay a flat layer of manicotti on the bottom of the baking dish then a layer of the cheddar cheese blend then another layer of manicotti pasta and another layer of cheese. Add another layer of manicotti but this time before you add another cheese layer, spread a layer of the pesto on the manicotti and then add another layer of cheese on top of the pesto. One more layer of manicotti and cheese then top with the crunchy bread crumb cheese blend. In a medium bowl mix together dried basil, dried oregano, chili flakes, parmesan cheese, and panko bread crumbs together. spread on top of the 4 layer manicotti casserole and pour 1/4 cup of milk along the edge of the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.