My mother would make manicotti fairly often growing up. She would make a simple cheesy manicotti with a great hearty sauce. As I began cooking for my own family, I brought the manicotti tradition back. Enjoying a warm, delicious meal at the dinner table surrounded by family never goes out of style and neither does a great manicotti recipe. Chicken Spinach Manicotti is a slightly healthier version of my mother’s adding chicken and spinach.
Gather all your ingredients. I always organize my ingredients in small bowls as part of my preparation to keep me organized and ensure I don’t leave anything out! The ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan are in a bowl together. The fresh herbs, spinach, cream cheese, and shredded chicken all get their own bowl. Leave some parmesan and parsley on the side to garnish for later. The egg, sauce and manicotti shells are out and ready. Today, I cooked 2 chicken breasts in the crock-pot to easily shred but rotisserie chicken also works fantastically!
Other kitchen items you will need for Chicken Spinach Manicotti are a pastry bag, large mixing bowl, knife, cutting board, foil, spatula, large pot, measuring cups and a large 11 x 13 baking dish. I realized once I began cooking how embarrassingly beat up my large baking dish is so I put my manicotti into two dishes. So, buying a new large baking dish was put on my to-do list.
The most difficult step in Chicken Spinach Manicotti is getting your chicken spinach filling into the manicotti shells. Tip* Use a pastry bag for this and cut the tip wide enough to fit right in like pictured above. I fill one side then turn the pasta to fill other side. This helps avoid any pasta breakage and gets the filling even. Its okay if the pasta does get a little crack in it, just place it crack side down in the baking dish for a nice presentation.
I decided to use RAGÚ® Homestyle Thick & Hearty Roasted Garlic Sauce today for the love all anything garlic. My mom always made garlicky dishes. There can never be too much garlic. There is a pinch of basil and parsley added in the recipe which are both optional. The jar supplies enough flavor on its own but its just nice to have a little extra fresh herb for a great aroma and presentation. RAGÚ® Homestyle Thick & Hearty Traditional Sauce or RAGÚ® Homestyle Thick & Hearty Four Cheese Sauce would also be great sauce choices for this particular manicotti recipe.