Crab stuffed manicotti with homemade alfredo sauce is an easy Italian- American dinner that is hearty, creamy, and packed with cheesy deliciousness!
Crab stuffed manicotti with alfredo sauce
Get ready for the best manicotti recipe to ever grace your table! This pasta dish is jam packed with three cheeses, lump crab meat, and a homemade alfredo sauce that will knock your socks off!
Manicotti (plural form of the Italian word “manicotto” meaning little sleeve) is an Italian American pasta that is a thick tube like pasta that can be stuffed with other ingredients.
This pasta is similar to cannelloni pasta. You could consider it as manicotti’s first cousin, Vinny. Cannelloni shared the tubular shape like manicotti, but it is thinner and is smooth (no ridges).
This crab stuffed manicotti is super simple to make and tastes like 5-star Italian¿/ dining- right on your table (and with simple ingredients!). It is hearty, cheesy, and so filling! Its rich flavor is highlighted with the slightly salty lump crab meat. Oh so good.
So, are you ready to get cookin’ or what?!
Crab stuffed manicotti ingredients
- Manicotti pasta- This tubular pasta can be found in most grocery stores. Check the packaging to make sure none of the shells are broken.
- Cheese- This recipe uses three kinds of cheese! Mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese all bring their unique flavors to this dish to add to the deliciousness!
- Lump crab meat- Buy a small can of lump crab meat from the refrigerated seafood section in your local grocery store. The seafood department might have it behind the glass, too.
- Herbs- Fresh parsley and basil are all this recipe needs to taste fresh and tasty!
- Roma tomatoes- Deseeded and diced roma tomatoes hold their flavor and texture well when they are baked. They add another layer of color and flavor to this dish!
- Heavy cream- Use heavy cream as the base to the homemade alfredo sauce. The leftover heavy cream can be used to thin out and reheat the leftover alfredo sauce. Yum!
Make it ahead of time
You can easily prep this crab stuffed manicotti dish before you head off to work so it is ready to pop in the oven when you get home! First, you can combine the manicotti crab stuffing. Boil and cook the pasta, drain, and it in a bit of olive oil. Next, stuff the manicotti with the crab stuffing.
You can make the alfredo sauce ahead of time, but I recommend adding a few tablespoons extra of the heavy cream so it doesn’t thicken too much when it is reheated.
The alfredo sauce comes together in under then minutes, which you can whip up quickly while you wait for the oven to preheat. It tastes delicious when it’s fresh (like most things), anyway!
The lump crab stuffing mixture can be made up to three days in advance, so you can really plan ahead!
No crab? No problem.
Lump crab can get pricey, and your store may or may not stock it. If you run into this issue, I have a solution! You can use numerous different ingredients to substitute the crab meat and still get that delicious seafood flavor.
Imitation crab meat or shrimp would be the closest to lump crab meat in flavor. Rough chop the ingredient of your choice to get a similar texture to lump crab meat.
A firm white fish would be a great substitute to lump crab meat, as well. It has a similar texture, light flavor, and is very delicious. Cod, haddock, hake, halibut, pollock, and coley are all great white fish that are firm in texture.
If you decide to substitute the lump crab meat, I recommend adding an extra pinch of salt to the manicotti stuffing mixture. The lump crab meat has a natural saltiness that you will have to make up for.
Whatever you substitute the crab with, you will have to precook it before combining it with the manicotti stuffing. Luckily, all these ingredients take only a few minutes to cook!
How to make crab stuffed manicotti with alfredo sauce
- Cook the pasta. Heat up a large pot of generously salted water over high heat until it is rapidly boiling. Cook the manicotti pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, then toss lightly in olive oil. Set to the side.
- Make the crab stuffing. While the pasta is cooking, combine the lump crab meat, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and diced roma tomatoes in a bowl, then stir to combine.
- Make the alfredo sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot, then sautè the chopped garlic. Add the heavy cream and bring to a light boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the parmesan cheese and stir for 1 minute until the cheese is melted. Remove the sauce from the stove.
- Stuff the manicotti. Use a small spoon to stuff the manicotti shells with the lump crab meat mixture. You will likely have to work from both ends to make sure it’s stuffed well. Place the stuffed manicotti in a large baking dish that is greased lightly with oil. Once they are all in the baking dish, smother them in the alfredo sauce.
- Bake the manicotti. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the baking dish in aluminum foil, then place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately. Mangia!
How to store and reheat crab stuffed manicotti and alfredo sauce
Freeze the manicotti
You can make this into a freezer friendly meal! There are a few extra steps you will have to take to ensure this dish freezes well.
First, make this dish completely, except do not bake it. Stuff the manicotti, smother in the alfredo sauce, then place it in the fridge to allow it to cool. After it has cooled completly, you can cover the dish with an airtight lid and place it in the freezer. The manicotti will stay good for 3-6 months, so make sure you put a label on it!
Since you will be freezing and baking the manicotti with alfredo sauce, you will want to add an extra few tablespoons of heavy cream to the alfredo sauce. This ensures the sauce will maintain a smooth texture when it is cooked.
You can place the leftover cooked manicotti in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This meal tastes delicious heated up the next day!
How to reheat crab stuffed manicotti
You can reheat this dish easily in the microwave or the oven. To reheat it in the microwave, place the desired amount of manicotti on a microwave safe dish, then cook for 2 minutes.
To reheat the manicotti in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the manicotti in an oven safe dish, then bake for 10 minutes.
What to serve with crab stuffed manicotti
- Olive and herb focaccia is made quicker than the traditional recipe with a few easy adjustments. This Italian bread is full of fresh herbs, cured olives, and tons of flavor!
- Salt crusted fish is an Italian classic and is ready in 30 minutes! Redfish is crusted in coarse sea salt and baked, making it tender and flavorful.
- Oven roasted asparagus is such an easy side dish that is healthy, delicious, and fast cooking.
- This pan roasted broccoli is a quick side dish results in crispy fried broccoli florets that are equally healthy and addicting! Robust olive oil and raw garlic adds a perfect touch of flavor.
- These White Wine and Lemon Roasted Artichoke Halves are packed with flavor and nutrition. With complimenting hints of white wine and lemon, with lemon zest, the artichokes are juicy and delicious!
Crab Stuffed Manicotti with Alfredo Sauce
- Medium size mixing bowl
- Baking dish
- Aluminum foil
- Medium size pot
- 7 manicotti shells
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 cup lump crab meat
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup mozarella cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 roma tomato deseeded, chopped
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a roaring boil. Cook the manicotti to al dente according to package instructions. Drain the manicotti, then toss lightly in a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Make the crab stuffing. While the pasta is boiling, combine the lump crab meat, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, roma tomato, basil, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium size pot over medium heat. Sautè the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the heavy cream and bring to a light boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the parmesan cheese. Stir the pot for 1 minute until the cheese is melted. Remove the sauce from the stove.
- Stuff the manicotti. Use a small spoon to stuff the manicotti shells. Work from both ends to make sure it is stuffed completely. Grease the bottom of a baking dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Place the stuffed manicotti in the baking dish, then pour the alfredo sauce over the pasta.
- Bake the manicotti. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake the manicotti for 25 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediatley. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.