Making this Chicken and Spinach Manicotti is a stuffed pasta that is often seen in Italian households. “Manicotti” that translates to “little sleeves” in Italian is a large shell that can easily be stuffed.
- Ricotta Cheese: A soft, creamy cheese, ricotta is perfect for piping and making into a filling for a stuffed pasta.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Add in mozzarella cheese into the filling and also remember to top the pasta tubes with extra cheese before baking.
- Herbs: Herbs such as parsley, oregano and thyme all flavor this stuffed pasta well. Start with the recommended amount and add more as desired.
- Tomato Sauce: Use a standard tomato marinara sauce that you picked up from the store or make a simple tomato sauce!
- Chicken: Pick up a ground chicken so that after it is cooked it can easily be piped into the Manicotti shells.
- Spinach: Wash and roughly chop the spinach so that it will easily cook down and so it can be piped into the shells.
- Egg: Adding in an egg to the cheese mixture will stabilize the filling as the stuffed pasta bakes.
How to Make Chicken and Spinach Manicotti
Making this stuffed pasta is actually quite a simple recipe.
First, start by heating some oil in a pan and sauteeing the chopped onion. Then, once the onion is fragrant, add in the garlic. Continue to fry for another minute.
Then, add in the ground chicken and spices and salt & pepper. Brown the chicken for about 7 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Then, add in the washed and chopped spinach.
Mix together the spinach and chicken and allow the spinach to cook down – it should only take about a minute or two for the spinach to wilt.
Once the spinach is wilted, take the pan off the heat and set aside and allow it to cool.
While your chicken mixture is cooling, make your ricotta mixture. It’s best to make your chicken mixture first so that it can cool a bit before adding it to the cheese.
In a mixing bowl, add the cheeses and egg together. If you’re still waiting for the chicken to cool, you can set up your shells and pan for baking.
Set your oven to 350 degrees.
Add a bit of tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Then begin filling your shells. One of the best parts of making this dish is that you don’t even have to cook the manicotti shells before you fill them.
There is also another trick to making this stuffed pasta.
Take a plastic gallon bag (or a pastry piping bag if you have one) and fill it with the cheese filling. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and use that to fill the shells by piping the filling into the shells.
After pipping, add the shells into the baking pan and then cover with more sauce and mozzarella.
Bake the manicotti for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The Chicken and Spinach Manicotti will be finished when the pasta is tender. You can also broil the dish for an additional 5 minutes to brown and crisp the cheese on top.
Allow the pasta to cool for a few minutes before serving – the dish will be hot!
Common Manicotti Questions
Do I need to boil Manicotti shells before stuffing?
You do not need to boil your shells before filling them! This makes stuffing your Manicotti shells much easier and you won’t risk crushing your boiled shells.
Fill your shells straight out of the package with a small spoon or with a piping bag.
What if my filling is too runny?
If you find that your filling is too runny, you can always add another egg yolk to your cheese filling.
The egg will act as a stabilizer and will make the cheese filling less likely to run out of the sides of the Manicotti.