This creamy chicken, spinach and ricotta-filled pasta is packed with a flavourful tomato sauce and walnut pieces for some crunch. With its cheesy, crisp crust on top and moist and tender interior, you can’t go wrong with this satisfying baked pasta dish.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
28 oven-ready cannelloni shells
1 pound ground chicken
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
6 cups fresh spinach
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup grated 4-cheese blend, divided
½ cup walnut pieces
For the Cream Sauce:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ cups grated Asiago cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, brown the ground chicken until cooked through and drain any water or extra fat. Add browned meat to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In the same skillet, heat olive oil on medium high and sauté onion until golden brown. Add garlic to skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
3. Add onions, garlic and spinach to bowl and allow to cool slightly before mixing ricotta through to incorporate. Mix in walnut pieces.
4. Make cream sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Take off the heat and whisk in flour. Heat milk and cream in a separate saucepan or in the microwave, and slowly whisk into butter and flour mixture. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a light boil, whisking occasionally. Incorporate salt, pepper and Asiago cheese, and set aside.
5. Pour ⅓ of the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 9” casserole or oven-proof dish.
6. Stuff half the cannelloni shells using an icing bag or a spoon and place in 2 rows on the bottom of the casserole. Cover with ½ of remaining sauce and ½ of 4-cheese blend. Repeat with the rest of the cannelloni, sauce and 4-cheese blend.
7. Cover with tin foil and place on a pan to catch any possible drips. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
8. Let cannelloni cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into 6 sections and serving.