This is a safe space, right? Well recently when watching some of my favorite foodies on Youtube, I learned that you do not have to boil kinds of pasta when cooking them in the oven. Cooking pasta before stuffing can be a handful for new cooks; you overcook the pasta so now your meal is mushy, the pasta tears when attempting to stuff them, or if you’re like me, I’m impatient and usually can’t wait for the pasta to cool off before handling. The most important thing to remember is that pasta needs moisture. I recommend covering pasta entirely in tomato sauce to ensure that they are fully cooked or even sitting pasta in hot water (not boiling) for two minutes to speed up the cooking process.
This week I am sharing a simple recipe for stuffed manicotti filled spinach, chicken breast, and lots of cheese. Manicotti in Italy means “Little Sleeve” this kind of pasta is shaped like long hollow tubes with ridges and are made for just stuffing and baking. This recipe is great for a weekday meal or indulging after a long week. I love recipes like this one because once you get the technique down, you can customize the recipe to your liking or appetite.
Note: In this recipe, I used shredded chicken. I achieved this by seasoning and baking boneless, skinless chicken breast until they were fully cooked and shredding the protein with two large forks. Your other option is to purchase a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store.
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Manicotti
Manicotti noodles stuffed with chicken breast, spinach, and Italian cheeses topped with classic marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. At this time I like to work on my homemade marinara sauce or boil jarred sauce in a medium saucepan while adding any extra herbs or seasonings in the kitchen. Click here to find my homemade marinara recipe: https://www.millennialmeetsstove.com/recipe/juicy-chicken-parmesan-homemade-marinara/
In a mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, shredded chicken, spinach, egg, and seasonings. Spoon the mixture into a large enough ziplock bag and cut one corner of the filled bag. This will help us pipe the pasta with pasta.
Ladle marinara sauce into the bottom of the pan until it is covered with an 1/2 inch of sauce. Pipe filling into each of the raw manicotti noodles. Place the noodles into the pan with sauce side by side until all have been filled.
Use additional sauce to ladle over the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and any more that you have on hand. It is important to make sure that the pasta is covered in sauce to help it cook while in the oven.
Cover pasta dish with foil and cook for 45 minutes or until the pasta is soft and the cheese is bubbling. My last batch took approximately 48 minutes. After removing from the oven, let the dish sit for 10 minutes before serving. Tag @elle.thefoodie in any pictures!