Chicken Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Manicotti. If you are looking for an example of an “elegant” comfort food in the form of a pasta dish, this rich manicotti is your answer. You’ll love these manicotti shells stuffed with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, and ricotta and draped with a garlicky parmesan cream sauce and baked to perfection.
It’s been a while since my last posting. Had a few issues with image uploads to this website. I’d moved to a new type of web hosting which has “unlimited” space…although that was not abundantly clear with a ton of image upload issues. Looks like that problem has been resolved — for now. So, I’m happily back with a tasty new recipe that I hope you will try. I don’t have photos for each step this time but since it’s a fairly easy recipe, you should be able to follow the written steps. I admit there are a lot of steps — remember that we are making both a filling and a sauce from scratch.
So how to make my Chicken Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Manicotti? Make a filling of chopped poached chicken, sauteed finely chopped onions and mushrooms, sauteed spinach, ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Stuff cooked manicotti shells with the chicken filling. Make a garlicky parmesan cream sauce out of butter, flour, milk, chicken stock, minced garlic, and parmesan with a bay leaf to perfume the sauce. Put some sauce in the bottom of your baking dish(es). Arrange the stuffed manicotti shells over the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the manicotti shells and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 – 30 minutes until the top is browned and the pasta is bubbling.
Serve with a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace for a slice of comfort heaven!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Chicken Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Manicotti
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 c chicken broth
12 manicotti shells
2 T olive oil
1/2 c finely diced sweet onion
4 oz. cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 t dried thyme
1 T butter
2 c fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 c fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 t freshly ground nutmeg
For the sauce:
2 T butter
1/4 c flour
2 cups milk
1/4 c chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
Additional 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese for topping
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a chef’s pan or deep saute pan.
3. When the broth is boiling, lower the heat to medium and add the chicken breasts.
4. Simmer the chicken breasts, uncovered, until they are cooked and still tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.
5. When the chicken breasts are done, remove them from the broth and set them aside on a cutting board to cool.
6. While the chicken breasts are cooking and cooling, fill a large stockpot with water.
7. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
8. Cook the manicotti to al dente in the boiling water according to the package instructions.
9. When the manicotti is done, drain and remove the cooked manicotti shells to a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Separate the shells so they are not touching and let them cool.
10. While the manicotti is cooling, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.
11. Add the olive oil to the nonstick pan.
12. When the oil is warm, add the onions and saute until translucent.
13. Add the mushrooms and the dried thyme, stir, and cook until the mushrooms are soft.
14. Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and pour into a medium-sized non-metallic bowl and let cool.
15. In the same pan that you used for the mushrooms, heat some butter over low heat and saute the spinach until wilted but not overcooked. Set aside.
16. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium low heat.
17. Add the flour and whisk. Cook, whisking often, for about 3 minutes.
18. Slowly add the milk, whisking to smooth the sauce.
19. Whisk in the chicken broth, and then add the garlic and the bay leaf.
20. Cook over low heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring often. Remove the bay leaf.
21. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and keep warm.
22. To assemble the filling, finely chop the cooled chicken breasts.
23. Mix the cooled mushroom mixture with the chopped chicken, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg.
24. Stuff each of the manicotti shells with the filling. I like to use my (clean) fingers so I can stuff evenly from both sides of the shell openings.
25. Spray your baking dish(es) with nonstick cooking spray.
26. Ladle some garlicky parmesan white sauce into the bottom of your baking dish(es).
27. Arrange the stuffed manicotti shells over the white sauce and then cover the manicotti with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.
28. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 – 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling, the manicotti centers are hot, and the tops are browned. If the sauce hasn’t browned, you can put it under the broiler for a minute or two.
29. Remove the baked manicotti from the oven and let cool just a bit. Plate the manicotti, and serve!
Serves 4 as a main course. Offer with a field green salad dressed with my Tarragon Balsamic Vinaigrette and toasted garlic bread.
Variations: Use fat free or lowfat fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Substitute 2% milk for the whole milk. Use finely chopped cooked turkey breast instead of chicken. Use arugula leaves instead of spinach. Use one large baking pan, or use individual au gratin pans for a different presentation. Omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish.
Buy some au gratin dishes similar to mine from Amazon.com:
www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)