Clearly I am not giving up carbs any time soon! This deep dish Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It's a bit of time to put together but worth every single bite. Classic comfort food!
I know I have been talking about the weather and that is kind of boring. But it's been nuts. Like a whole new level of crazy. We have just come back from a drive to the local marina where a tornado went through last night! What? Yes, a tornado. Just to give you all a heads up, that is not normal or frequent weather behaviour for these parts. If you want to take a look at the craziness, click here. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Always the main thing. It was a bit of a shock, as the storms finally cleared away yesterday morning, the winds died down and the sun came out. It was all going well. Until, well until it wasn't. Now sitting here looking out the window, the can see the sun creeping in again. There is hope on the horizon.
Yesterday, in the hours of low tide, sunshine and non tropical winds, there was an initiative to help clean up the the local beach. We had days of gale force winds and crashing waves in which the beaches took a hammering. It left behind destroyed beach side cafes, infrastructure damage and more litter than you can imagine. The initiative was in good spirit and great to see a community come together in the wake of such destruction. We went along and helped with the others to help sift through the rubbish that mother nature dumped on us over these past days. Incredible what many hands can do when working together. It left me with a warm heart. Very nice indeed.
Okay enough about the weather. Let's talk food.
Does anybody ever buy the lasagna or cannelloni that says it pre cooked? So you just layer or fill it and then bake it. Well, I never do because I don't trust it at all. However, I went against my better judgement and bought the pre cooked cannelloni tubes in the supermarket a while ago. I thought they were going to be super easy. Wrong! First of all, because they are quite small, I needed to use a teaspoon to put the filling inside. And let me tell you, it was fiddly. Took way longer than it would have done had I used the normal sheets and layered my filling. I know that way probably sounds longer, but it really isn't.
Next time I am going back to the sheets that you cook and roll!
Fiddly assembly aside, this was a great dish! Everyone ate it, and you know I am always happy when the whole family eats what I cook. Let me tell you, that doesn't happen every day. Let's leave it at that for now.
When you look into the recipe below, you might think, "No way, too much time.". But like anything food related, sometimes it takes a little nurture and love, right?
This can be made before hand and refrigerated hours before cooking. Also, you could easily save time by making the marinara sauce before hand. This keeps in the fridge up to two weeks. Or you can preserve it the way I do it. If you are interested in the persevering method of the sauce, chick here to check that out. You could always easily cheat and buy sauce. Either way, it's all good.
A great comforting dish that would make any pasta lover happy.
Chicken & Spinach Cannelloni
Serves 8 / Prep time: 35 minutes / Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
20 - 25 Cannelloni tubes or sheets
2 cans of whole tomatoes, 32 oz/800 grams
1 Red pepper, roughly chopped
1 Green pepper, roughly chopped
1 Onion – roughly chopped
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bag of fresh spinach, 8 oz/200 grams
2 chicken breast, cut into small pieces or into ground chicken
Fresh basil, rosemary & parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
For the bechamel sauce:
2 Cups/480 ml milk
2 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 Cups/175 grams Gouda cheese, grated
1/3 Cup/35 grams parmesan cheese, grated
Small bunch of fresh chopped parsley
In a large frying pan, add olive oil and about half of the crushed garlic. Cook for a minute before adding the peppers and onions. Cook on high heat for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes. While the onions and peppers are cooking, add in a little of the tomato juice from the can. This will ensure they soften while they cook and not burn. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the liquid in the tomatoes reduces by half. This will take around 10-12 minutes. Stir as it cooks. At this point taste your sauce and see if it is bitter at all. If so, add about a teaspoon of sugar. Stir well and leave to simmer for a few more minutes. Once you have finished this, add the mixture to the blender and blend in batches until you have a smooth sauce. Flavours can be adjusted once you have made your sauce with additional herbs, salt, pepper, sugar....
Heat the reserved skillet and add a little olive oil and remaining garlic. Add in chicken and brown for just about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until it has completed wilted. Remove from heat. Add prepared sauce to the chicken and spinach mixture.
In a medium saucepan set over medium to high heat, melt butter until sizzling. Whisk in flour until you have a paste. Gradually start whisking in your milk. Continue doing this until you have added all the milk and you have a slightly thickened sauce. Reduce heat to medium low and add most of the cheese, both kinds, reserving a little for the top. Stir really well until all the cheese has melted into the sauce. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and add the chopped parsley. Stir and remove from heat.
Using a spoon, fill the cannelloni tubes with the chicken spinach filling. Repeat for all tubes. Place the filled tubes in a large deep sided baking dish. Use two pans if one isn't big enough. Evenly pour over the sauce. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for around 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from over and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Julia and I have a passion for wholesome fresh food. Here you can find what's cooking in my Spanish kitchen, with inspiration from my Newfoundland roots!
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