Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti

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Add flour, egg and water and voila you have pasta. I don’t think there is a type or shape of pasta I don’t like. I love spaghetti and meatballs, meat sauce and shells, lasagna, pasta salad, baked ziti, rigatoni, linguini, capellini, egg noodles, and penne pasta.

Recently I ran across a recipe for stuffed manicotti that I tweaked a tad, but the secret to this dish is in the sauce.

INGREDIENTS

1 10 ounce package of frozen spinach

2 cooked and cubed/shredded skinless, boneless chicken breasts

7.5 ounces of ricotta cheese

6 tablespoons of butter

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup of milk

48 ounces tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried basil

1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

1.5 teaspoons brown sugar

1 whole box uncooked manicotti shells (approx. 14 shells)

8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

DIRECTIONS

Drain spinach in a colander and pat dry. Mix chicken, ricotta cheese and spinach together and then stuff each shell with mixture.

In a large saucepan, melt butter and then stir in flour until smooth and gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the tomato sauce, garlic powder, basil, and brown sugar. Cook on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.

Spread 1/2 cup of sauce into a greased 9” X 13” baking dish. Arrange manicotti over the sauce and then pour enough sauce over the manicotti to cover. You will have extra sauce, but that will come in handy for leftovers.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until manicotti is soft and cooked. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is meted.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Dennis L. Page