Our Chicken Cannelloni may be a labor of love, but rest assured, this is one great love story. We stuff homemade pasta sheets with a creamy ricotta, shredded chicken, and spinach, cover in our favorite marinara sauce, and gooey fresh mozzarella cheese and then bake until bubbly and you can no longer handle the smells permeating throughout your house.
Add 2 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add eggs to a liquid measuring cup. Whisk to combine. While pulsing the flour, slowly add the egg mixture through the feeding tube. Continue to pulse until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough does not form a ball, add water a teaspoon at a time until it does.
Leave the mixer on for 2-3 minutes with the dough in it. This will help knead it. Remove the ball, lightly dust with flour and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temeparature.
While the dough rests, make the filling. Add spinach to a medium skillet. Heat over a medium flame, stir until spinach wilts. Cool completely. If there is any excess moisture, drain or gently squeeze out of the spinach. Add chicken, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt, nutmeg, egg, pepper, and cooled spinach to a large bowl. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has rested, cut it into four different pieces. Take one piece and lightly dust it in flour. Cover the rest of the dough in plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out so it’s thin enough to fit through the pasta maker. Roll the dough through the pasta maker set on its widest setting. Roll the pasta through the pasta maker again, this time at the next setting. Repeat until you get to the second smallest setting (it’s a two on my pasta maker). Repeat with remaining dough.
Store the pasta sheets on a baking sheet dusted lightly with flour. Cut the pasta into 12, 4 1/2 x 5 1/2-inch rectangles. It's okay if they aren't exact.
Grease a 9x12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour enough marinara in the bottom of the pan to generously coat it. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out a about 1/4 cup of the filling on to the top of each pasta sheet, horizontally. Roll the pasta up jelly-roll style and place in the prepared pan, seam-side down. Repeat for all 12 sheets. Pour remaining sauce on top. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until the pasta is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
Remove the foil from the cannelloni, and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven and bake until cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh parsley.
If you do not want to make your own pasta, you can make homemade crepes, or you can boil dried manicotti pasta shells.
For the crepes: You can go ahead and sprinkle the mozzarella on top after assembling. Do not cover with foil and bake until bubbly and the cheese has melted, about 25 minutes.
For the manicotti shells: Make sure to only cook the shells until just under aldente as they will continue to cook in the baking process. As assembly, sprinkle with mozzarella, do not cover with foil and bake until bubbly and the cheese has melted, about 30-35 minutes.