Oh, so good. This Chicken Manicotti is oh, so good. It's not as rich and heavy as lasagna, but just as delicious. A few months back, I ate at the Olive Garden and had an appetizer with white and red sauce together, it was of course the best thing I've ever put my mouth and I was inspired to create something similar with this manicotti. I confess I used pasta sauce out of a jar, it's quick and better than what I usually make, I just really like this particular one, use your own if you wish. I did make the white sauce and I think that counts for something, right? This was something the whole family enjoyed, except the little one, he couldn't quite get a handle on the ricotta, but loved the outsides! You've got to try this it is good, good, good!
Chicken Manicotti with White & Red Sauce
For Manicotti and Filling:
1 26 oz jar pasta sauce
12 manicotti cooked and rinsed in cold water
2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, sliced into thin strips ( or 2 tablespoons dried)
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
For White Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
½ cup grated parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
In a medium size bowl combine, ricotta, ½ cup parmesan, eggs, and mozzarella. Stir in basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and chicken until well combined. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour, and salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly just until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in half and half, stirring until becomes thick. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup parmesan and nutmeg. Pour into large casserole dish, spreading around to completely coat the bottom.
Place filling into a large ziplock bag. Clip one corner and fill manicotti from both sides and place over white sauce. Repeat with remaining manicotti and filling. Pour red sauce over manicotti evenly. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of mozzarella (or more if you like). Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until filling is heated through. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.