Chicken Manicotti with Fontina
This recipe came about out of desperation. I only had 8 Cannelloni noodles by Barilla leftover, from when I had made manicotti many moons ago.
I also had only 2 leftover grilled chicken breasts from the day before.
I had no cream, no ricotta cheese, or spaghetti sauce. But, I did have some fontina cheese and some frozen mozzarella, including about 6 or 7 small very ripe tomatoes and fresh basil that needed attention quickly. What to do? Chicken breast sandwiches with tomato? Chicken salad sandwiches? Opps, I had no eggs to make mayo! A chef salad? No. I was in the mood for Italian. Yet I had so little of the usual ingredients on hand. So......
- Cannelloni noodles;
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese;
- The leftover chicken breasts got cubed finely, ending up with about 2 cups of chopped chicken;
- Chopped fresh basil -- 1/2 cup;
- 4 garlic cloves, minced;
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano;
- 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper;
- A little flour and milk mixed together for thickening;
- Milk -- about 1 cup went in (I just poured without measuring, until it looked like enough;
- 1 1/2 cups grated fontina;
- Olive oil, about 1/8 cup.
- Some olive oil;
- 6 or 7 small chopped tomatoes;
- 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil;
- 3 minced garlic cloves;
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano;
- whole bay leaf;
- salt & pepper to taste.
- The 7 leftover Cannellonis got cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water. Set aside.
- I heated the oil in a large frying pan. Then added the minced garlic, the chopped basil, oregano, salt & pepper, and the diced chicken. Mixed well and cooked about 10 minutes.
- Then added the milk and the flour/milk mixture. Combined that well. Cooked until thickened and bubbly. Then added the grated fontina and mixed. Took off the stove and set aside.
- For the sauce, in a separate pan I added some olive oil, the chopped tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, 3 minced garlic cloves, dried oregano, bay leaf, and salt & pepper. Cooked the tomatoes until they were soft. Removed the bay leaf.
- Stuffed each of the noodles with the chicken mixture. Placed the stuffed manicotti in a small oiled pan. A 7x10 inch glass pan fit them perfectly.
- Spread any leftover chicken mixture on top of the noodles. Then spread the sauce mixture on top of that. Then the grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2 cups) on top of it all.
- Baked at 350 for 20 minutes.
- So then! My small amount of Cannelloni noodles did not get wasted after all. And my 2 leftover boneless cooked chicken breasts did not end up as a boring chicken salad, nor did they end up on top of some boring green salad. I had no ricotta cheese, no cream, and no spaghetti sauce premade. Yet with very little ingredients on hand, I was actually able to make something out of nothing and it didn't take much time to prepare, even though it looked & tasted like it did. I wish I had gotten a picture! Now I know that I can make manicotti even in a pinch.