Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

If you ask me, there’s a rumble of mighty confusion among the lands.


And by lands, I mean my noggin.

You know what, I’m just going to ask you. I asked the Google, but it only led me down a path of befuddlement and flask shopping.

What’s the stinkin’ difference between manicotti and cannelloni? They’re both delicious tubes of happiness filled with seasoned glee and topped with creamy giddiness, right?

man1  man2

The Goog tried telling me one was filled with meats while the other was filled with only cheeses and spinach. And that some tubes were smaller with no ridges while the others were larger with design. And also that the sauce on one was tomato-based while the other was a creamy white sauce. Well, home freshies, mine is the combo order of all that, sooooo I think what we’re looking at here is manilloni.

Or cannellotti?

Or man-cann-i-e-cott-llon-i-i.

Or cann-man-e-i-llon-cott-i-i.

Or mcaannnieclolotntclontlotii?

I’m so glad you’re on board.

man3  man4

Do you want to know why I went with manicotti? Because I WAS going to call this cannelloni. Ya see, there’s this restaurant in town that serves thu merst incredible chicken, spinach and mushroom cannelloni known to any face and mouth, and this was going to be my version of it. But their cannelloni tubes are actual crepes. CREPES. Perfectly light, airy, delicate little baby crepes. Is that not ridiculous? I wasn’t about to try to make crepes because I had limited time due to my current Parenthood obsession. (Which bee-tee-dub, I’m two episodes from being completely caught up and I did NOT see that coming. My fragility is basically hooked up to life support. Ugh.)

AND, I knew Hank had something up his sleeeeeeeve, ooooh that Hank.

What was I telling you? Oh yeah. Manileeloo.

man5  man6

I called it manicotti instead of cannelloni because the box said manicotti. AHAHAHAH. Oh.

Was that anticlimactic?

How ’bout I show you a close-up of the finished dish, eh?


Man-i-don’t-care-what-it’s-called-i-want-that-cotti is more like it, heeeeeeey-oh!


Let’s eat already.

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti:

What it took for 4:

* 1 (8 oz) box manicotti tubes
* 1 pound ground chicken
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 pinch red pepper flakes
* 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 5 oz baby spinach
* 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (roughly, whatever you want)
* 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
* 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
* 1/3 cup heavy cream
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Fill up a 9 x 13 dish with warm water. Place the manicotti tubes in there and just let ’em hang while you prepare everything else. They won’t be super soft, but it just gets them in the mindset, ya know?

Bring a large skillet to a medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken to the pan and season with a good pinch of salt, pepper, the ground cinnamon and crushed red pepper. Brown all over, about 7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Back in the skillet, add a Tbs. of oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté 30 more seconds. Add the spinach and toss to wilt, maybe 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, spinach and mushroom mixture with the ricotta cheese and parsley.

In the meantime, pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Transfer them to a small saucepan. Stir in the cream and lightly simmer. Season with a small pinch of salt and pepper.

Drain the water from the baking dish and wipe clean with a paper towel. Pour about  1/2 cup of the creamy tomato sauce along the bottom of the baking dish.

Stuff each tube with the ricotta mixture and arrange them in the dish. Once all stuffed, pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the manicottis. Cover and bake 30 minutes.

Let rest about 5 minutes. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrright.

Serve garnished with parsley and freshly grated parmesan!


Man-i-could-cuddle-some-cotti-about-now? No? Okay.

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80 Responses to Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

  1. Christina January 7, 2013 at 8:34 am #
    me's wants now please.....
  2. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl January 7, 2013 at 8:41 am #
    Another spinach filled dish (aka reason #59879083 I heart you.)
  3. Amy January 7, 2013 at 8:51 am #
    Who cares what you call it! Just pass me a fork.
  4. Katie January 7, 2013 at 9:00 am #
    Haha, that last name. About the cuddling. That's the one I want.
  5. Heather @ Heather's Dish January 7, 2013 at 9:13 am #
    I always thought the difference was the ends of the pasta on manicotti are cut at an angle and the cannelloni are flat? Buuuuuuuuuuut I kinda made that up in my head, so you know...take it with a grain of salt ;)
  6. Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife January 7, 2013 at 9:25 am #
    Having this for dinner asap!
  7. Andrea @ Barbells and Buttercream January 7, 2013 at 9:34 am #
    I want this for supper now! Buuuuuuutttt, since I'm not going to the grocery store 'til Wednesday, I pinned it and will dream about it 'til then!
  8. Kathryn January 7, 2013 at 9:35 am #
    Yup, don't care what it's called. Just want to eat it.
  9. DessertForTwo January 7, 2013 at 9:43 am #
    Is it mani-cotti, as in mani-pedi?
  10. Cat Davis January 7, 2013 at 10:18 am #
    Ohhh this would be such a delicious lunch for me and my daughter during the week. I love manicotti.
  11. Ali | Gimme Some Oven January 7, 2013 at 10:34 am #
    Whatever they're called, these look AMAZING! :)
  12. Shiloh January 7, 2013 at 10:37 am #
    Yummy. Pinning!
  13. a farmer in the dell January 7, 2013 at 11:40 am #
    I don't care what you call it, I want some!!!
  14. Michelle January 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm #
    Those look insanely good! Especially since breakfast just did not cut it this morning. I just started Parenthood last night!
  15. Laura January 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm #
    Oh my. This looks so delicious! Always looking to put a new spin on pasta night. Looking forward to making this one!
  16. carrian January 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm #
    I'd for sure gobble up that manilloni deliciousness. That's my name for it. Feel free to borrow it any time. ;)
  17. claire @ the realistic nutritionist January 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm #
    This looks phenominal!!
  18. Brian @ A Thought For Food January 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm #
    Call it whatever you'd like... just put it in my mouth!
  19. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. January 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm #
    yes please!!
  20. Heather Christo January 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm #
    My stomach is grooooooowling....
  21. Katie | GoodLife Eats January 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm #
    Yum! I wish this is what we were eating for dinner tonight, but only if someone else was making it for me. Stuffing pasta isn't hard but I always hate doing it.
  22. Kari@Loaves n Dishes January 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm #
    Looks delish, just what I wanna eat after my mani-pedi?
  23. Cassie | Bake Your Day January 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm #
    Yes. The cuddling. I'm in.
  24. Julie @ Table for Two January 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm #
    I want to be curled up in those manicottis. Yum-o!
  25. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids January 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm #
    Oh, Bev. You are pure joy, and your posts make me happy. :) Of course, your food makes my belly happy, which is important, too. Obviously. :)
  26. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen January 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm #
    Manicotti is my favorite, and I've never made it with ground chicken. I'm not sure if they sell ground chicken here, in the middle of nowhere but now I'll be lookin.
    • ANT April 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm #
      Why not grind it yourself? Better and less expensive... a win-win.
    • Anna August 12, 2018 at 8:44 pm #
      Why not just shred up a rotisserie chicken in place of the ground chicken? I'd do that if I were crunched for time :)
  27. Ross | TheFaceBaby January 8, 2013 at 12:52 am #
    Call it what you want, but I rearranged the letters to give your dish a more manly, Italian name. I shall now refer to him as sir Lance Linnici Mantoot. Okay, so the beginning is manly and Italian. Close enough.
    • Bev Weidner January 8, 2013 at 6:39 am #
      Um, best. name. ever.
  28. Rebecca January 8, 2013 at 12:53 am #
    Watching Parenthood as I pin and found this :)
  29. Allie {Urban Feast} January 8, 2013 at 5:42 am #
    I've actually never seen pasta shaped like that before but this recipe looks delicious, will have to keep an eye out for those.
  30. Sharla January 8, 2013 at 7:51 am #
    I'm not gonna lie - by the end I did not know which one this was...nor did I care!! Looks yummy. Don't think it's on my "clean foods" list, but hey, a girl can dream right? Or make it for her husband :)
  31. kate January 8, 2013 at 11:43 am #
    Making this weekend! One question though, I noticed that the ingredients are for 4, is that 4 servings or 4 tubes? I only ask because the picture looks like there is 8 or 9 in the dish and I may make this for company. Thanks!
    • Bev Weidner January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm #
      Oh cool! You're correct, 4 servings. Assuming each person eats a couple of tubes. I think there were around 14 tubes in the package, so you might get more servings out of it! Depending how hungry ya are. ;) Let me know how it turns out!
      • kate February 8, 2013 at 10:49 am #
        Thanks, making this tomorrow!
    • ANT April 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm #
      Awesome comment... I was thinking 4 manicotti, not 4 servings... Doh!!! I guess I could have made the greatest meatballs ever with the left-over filling.
  32. Katie @ Blonde Ambition January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm #
    I've been asking my mom that same question for years! She makes Italian food for all the big holidays (cause her lil Italian grandma always did) and it's usually either manicotti or cannelloni... But it pretty much always looks the same no matter what she calls it!
  33. Sarah W. January 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm #
    This looks amazing! Reading through the post made me laugh so hard, especially the "thu merst incredible chicken" part, my husband randomly talks and/or sings like this ALL the time and I die laughing every time. ;) I found this through Pinterest, can't wait to make it and and I'll definitely be following your blog from now on, thanks for sharing!! :)
  34. Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen January 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm #
    Whatever you call it, I like it!
  35. Aly January 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm #
    Whats a good substitute for heavy cream...Ive got lactose issues :-( AND how did you stuff them...?? with a spoon?
    • Bailey January 9, 2013 at 10:08 am #
      I personally like to use a spatula and get every last scrap of the yummy mixture into a freezer ziploc bag, cut the tip off and squeeze it into each end of the tubes! It's always worked for me.
    • Bev Weidner January 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm #
      Yes! I used a spoon to stuff them, but I love Bailey's idea in squeezing the mix in! And I say just leave out the cream! You'll have a nice smooth tomato sauce still, without it. Let me know how it works for ya!
      • Carla December 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm #
        I have always been under the impression that manicotti is the pasta you buy to make cannaloni
  36. ruthie January 14, 2013 at 9:59 am #
    The first recipe I ever saw for cannelloni used crepes instead of pasta tubes. And to further confound and put tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and a white sauce on the top! Like yours, it had spinach and cheese inside, but it also used chicken livers. I love me some chicken livers, so that became my go-to buffet dish. It's amazing, but almost no one ever realizes they're eating chicken livers. ;) Not sure what that means. Are you enlightened or more confused? Thanks for reminding me that I love cannelloni.
  37. Anonymous January 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm #
    Making this for my bf and parents this weekend-very excited looks delish!
  38. Hayley January 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm #
    my sauce turned out like a sauce but in the photo it looks more like a chunky sauce.. Can someone explain this
  39. Rose January 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm #
    This looks really good i have one question?? Did you cook the tomatoes before blending them up? Or cut blend and mix with cream and cook then??
  40. Lauren January 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm #
    I've never made a Manicotti dish before but this sounds to die for! I guess I'll be making a Manicotti dish now, thanks for the great recipe!
  41. Laura Jean February 5, 2013 at 11:58 am #
    We made this last night and it was delicious (though I substituted ground beef for chicken and had no parsley). Thanks for posting! I'm adding your blog to my reader right now!
  42. Maia February 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm #
    Making mine right now! Just about to put the sauce in the bottom of the pan. I ran out of $$ before I could get some parsley but I think it's gonna be great anyways!
  43. Beth April 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm #
    Made these a couple of days ago but used mascarpone instead of ricotta. They were just fantastic! Best part... I divided into two casseroles and one is in the freezer! Can't wait for that deliciously lazy dinner!
  44. Mickey July 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm #
    I learned not to leave the shells in the water while I go to the store they get soggy. Good dish though, yummy
  45. Bek January 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm #
    Yum, and my vote is for manilloni! I do a very similar dish to this but I add toasted pinenuts :)
  46. Hayate January 9, 2014 at 10:43 pm #
    Can you substitute any cheese for the ricotta? Like maybe if you say melt it first? These look amazing but I just can't stomach ricotta or goat or feta cheese for that matter lol
    • ANT April 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm #
      The facts on the ground: you can stuff whatever you want (within reason) into the pasta tube.
    • Anonymous November 8, 2019 at 7:40 am #
      cottage cheese is a great substitute.
  47. Kaye January 16, 2014 at 7:51 am #
    Hey! Just tried your recipe (except I rolled the filling in lasagna noodles). It was fantastic! Thanks for the great recipe!
  48. Sande June 11, 2014 at 6:11 am #
    My former mother in law use to make a crepe filled Manicotti but I can't remember what she called them. She would roll them in tubes or most often would put the filling in the middle and fold each side over like a package. I'm going to make these today. I love the sauce, it reminds me of the cream gravy when you make fried red tomatoes with cream gravy. Which I could eat plates of.
  49. Jennifer December 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm #
    I made these last night for dinner. They were really good. I would not have thought to put so many mushrooms in, but what a great way to get them into my husband and kids! My two boys (2&3 yrs) loved them so much, they wanted them for lunch today. They didn't realize the veggies were in there at all! haha. Thanks for the recipe!
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  60. Joanie June 6, 2017 at 5:15 pm #
    This looks and sounds delicious! Only one problem, how do I print the recipe?????
    • Bev Weidner June 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm #
      There's a print button down in the recipe card! Let me know if it doesn't work for you and I'll tell my tech gal. :)
  61. Salty Grasshopper January 31, 2019 at 12:13 pm #
    Definitely going to make this tonight. Sounds a little basic for my taste though. I'm just going to add some sun dried tomatoes & fresh grated Parmesan cheese to it. The sauce seems simple & rustic, but I'll make my own Rosa sauce. Sometimes I just need a little help finding out what to make for dinner. Once I got an idea I just run with it. Thanks for the great idea!


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