Manicotti shells stuffed with a cheesy, seafood filling and smothered with a gloriously creamy and decadent white sauce. A recipe perfect for pairing with a white wine for a special dinner or feeding a large family. Don't miss my trick so you can skip boiling the noodles AND I'm showing the easiest way to stuff those manicotti!
- Shrimp. I have made this recipe with both pre-cooked salad shrimp and uncooked 36/40 (med/lg) sized shrimp that I cooked while getting the noodles ready. The salad shrimp is good but the uncooked shrimp has more flavor and was worth the effort. If you can, use the uncooked shrimp.
- Crab Meat. I just use canned white crab meat and it always works great. Use whatever you find but just be sure it is chopped well enough to stuff into your pasta.
- Egg. The egg acts as the filling's binder and is essential. Be sure to give it a light beating prior to mixing with the filling or you'll end up with scrambled eggs mixed in your manicotti!
- Mayo. Mayo helps give the filling needed creaminess, salt, and a gorgeous tang.
- Ricotta Cheese. The ricotta cheese isn't put into the filling but, instead, spread on top of the stuffed pasta. The filling to pasta mixture is already perfect. Trust me on this...ricotta on top brings that creamy filling up a notch. NOTE: you CAN skip this ingredient if you prefer.
- Mozzarella Cheese. Mozzarella cheese really is the best for this recipe. It has a lovely mild flavor that works great with seafood. Sub out another mild white cheese, if you prefer.
- Parmesan Cheese. Parm cheese gives the sauce that ultimate decadent and is the ideal choice because of how well it melts. Sub out asiago or romano, if you prefer.
- Old Bay Seasoning or Creole seasoning. Can you really have a seafood dish without a hearty pinch (or two) of Old Bay? Not this recipe!
- Fresh Parsley and lemon. I would recommend serving this with a quick squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of parsley to lift that heavy dairy. Sooo good!
How to make Seafood Manicotti:
- Soak the pasta shells in hot water to soften them.
- Prepare your seafood. Cook (if needed) and chop your shrimp and crab.
- Mix your filling ingredients.
- Fill your softened and cooled pasta.
- Make the creamy sauce.
- Spread ricotta on the stuffed shells.
- Top with sauce.
- Squeeze some lemon and sprinkle parsley on top.
Rather than going through the mess and hassle of boiling your manicotti noodles try this hack:
Line up your noodles in your pan just as if you were going to bake them. Cover them with boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Dump the water out and let cool a few minutes.
The filling is a simple mixture of egg, cheese, seafood, mayo and a tablespoon of cajun seasoning to punch up the flavor. Throw in a handful of fresh parsley, if you like. I love the color it gives the dish!
I get a lot of questions about this tool when I use it in live classes. This little tool holds your bag open so you can fill it easily! Find it HERE.
Of course, stuffing the manicotti takes a bit of time. We won't lie...it's on the annoying side of tasks. Fill a large Ziplock bag with a corner cut with your filling and stuff your manicotti on one end, flip it around and stuff the other. You'll have less mess and a smoother time of it!
The sauce comes together easily with cornstarch, butter, garlic, milk, and parm cheese. It will be fairly thin when you pour it in...don't worry, it'll come together perfectly!
Stuff those noodles, pour that homemade alfredo sauce over, and bake the whole thing until it gets bubbly and melty.
You can stop right there, if you like. OR...turn the oven to broil, sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top of the dish, and broil it about 5 minutes or until REALLY melty!
You will end up with a pan of sweet, savory filled pasta topped with creamy sauce just waiting to be paired with salad and bread for the ultimate in dinners. Save yourself the money at Olive Garden. This. This manicotti someone will pay YOU to make. Heck, maybe you could open a restaurant and serve only this. All day.
This Seafood Manicotti is soooo good!
It should be noted that my picky teenage son devoured several plates of this. My whole family raved and ate plenty. The best part...the leftovers are delicious, too!
Make up the manicotti and pop it into the fridge until you are ready to bake it. It'll keep perfectly well for a day or two. Be sure to add a bit of extra cooking time to account for the dish hitting the oven cold.
Seafood manicotti can be stored in the fridge for about 2 days. It doesn't freeze well because of the high dairy content so I can't recommend it.
Creamy Seafood Manicotti
- 1 package of manicotti
- 1 5 ounce can of white crabmeat drained and chopped, if needed
- ½ pound shrimp cooked (if needed) and chopped
- 1 egg slightly beaten.
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 ¾ tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups milk
- 6 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped ---optional
- In a large casserole pan (a 9 by 13 will make all but 2 of your manicotti noodles), lay out your manicotti noodles. Pour boiling water over them until they are covered. Let soak 30 minutes. Drain off and let the noodles cool.
- Mix the seafood, egg, onion, mozzarella cheese, Old Bay seasoning, mayo, and the 2 tablespoons of milk together.
- Stuff the seafood filling into the cooled manicotti. To make this easier, use a Ziplock bag with a corner cut off.
- In a medium heavy saucepan, melt the butter on low/medium heat.
- When the butter is melted add the cornstarch and whisk just until smooth.
- Add the minced garlic and whisk gently for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously. Heat until the sauce thickens up a bit. Do NOT boil.
- Add the parmesan cheese, return the pan to the heat, and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Add the salt & pepper. Taste and add additional salt & pepper, if needed.
- Spread the ricotta over the stuffed manicotti and top with the sauce. NOTE: if you are making a 9 by 13 pan you most likely won't use about ½ cup of the sauce.
- Put into 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, turn the oven to broil. Top with parsley and broil for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool before serving. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of fresh parsley.