These tasty cuties are definitely a labor of love. I used so many pans, bowls and utensils making these but my mouth and tummy says "Worth it" . Two sauces used separately and combined, a bolognese and an alfredo. The filling has everything but the kitchen sink in it. Ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella,panchetta, spinach, chicken, homemade mock sundried tomatoes, (I forgot to grab a jar of them when I was at the store so I had to improvise) and a dash of alfredo. Save some time, buy a rotisserie chicken at your market! I used frozen chopped spinach! No shame in that!
The boys loved them!
1put a pot of water on bring to boil, salt like the ocean and add the manicotti shells cook til almost aldente, they will cook more in the oven
2in a saute pan add olive oil and pancetta to pan and cook until crispy
3remove panchetta and set a side and caramelize the onions til golden
4in a sauce pan melt the butter and add the flour and stir for several minutes to cook off that raw flour taste.
5add the milk and stir, bring to a gentle boil and reduce and cook for several minute to get the flour taste out. Add the salt and pepper and nutmeg and taste, adjust. Add the cheese and mix until smooth, remove from heat
6combine ricotta, spinach, onions, panchetta, tomato, parmesan cheese, handfull mozzarella, and the shredded chicken. Add a cup of the bechamel to the mixture and combine
7preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill the manicotti shells with the ricotta mixture. I put it in a zip sealed plastic bag and cut off a corner. Makes it easier.
Combine the bechamel and the tomato sauce in a large bowl
8fill the manicotti shells with the ricotta mixture. Place 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a lasangna pan and place the filled manicotti shells.
9When all the shells are fill and placed in the pan add the rest of the bechamel tomato sauce combination on top. Top that with mozzarella and parm cheese.
10cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and cook until cheese becomes lightly golden. Enjoy!