chicken and spinach manicotti
- 1 8 oz box of manicotti tubes (14 tubes)
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tsp grround cinnammon, or to taste
- 1 1/2 tsps coriander, or to taste
- pich of red pepper flakes, or to taste (We use Hatch chili peppers, which are roasted in season, then dried.)
- 3 tbsps chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped, or to taste
- 5 ozs fresh spinch, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
- 2 tbsps fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
- 8 medium fresh tomatoes, or 2 14-oz cans of diced
- 3 tbsps fresh oregano, or 2 tsp dried
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsps grated parmesan cheese, or to taste
We don't cook the tubes before we stuff them. Instead, we put them in a 9x14 inch cooking dish and fill it with water so they can soak while we prepare everything else. That way they are a little soft, but not soft enough to rip when we stuff them.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large skillet (we use the risotto pan) to medium heat, and add the ground chicken. Season with pepper, ground cinnamon, coriander, basil, and red pepper flakes. We don't add salt at this point, but you might want to. Brown all over, about 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Back in the skillet, brown the garlic, about 3 minutes (You might need to add a little olive oil, depending how much fat comes out of the chicken when you brown it.) Add the spinach and toss to wilt, maybe 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken mixture, garlic, cottage cheese and parsely.
Pulse the tomatoes with 2 tbsp of the oregano in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small or medium saucepan, add the heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat about 1 minute.
Drain the water from the baking dish. Pour about 1/3 of the creamy tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Stuff the manicotti with the cottage cheese mixture, and arrange them in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce, then cook on a medium rack of the oven for about 30 minutes.
After you remove the manicotti from the oven, top with the remaining oregano and the parmesan cheese for garnish.
Let rest/cool about 5 minutes and enjoy!