Friday, April 24, 2009

No Grumpy Old Men

Anyone who has seen Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men most likely remembers Burgess Meredith’s hilariously suggestive lines. One that sticks in my mind is when Pop propositions Maria’s mom with, “I’ll show you my cannelloni if you show me yours.”

Well, I am showing you my cannelloni. *blush* Now, get your mind out of the gutter and back to the dinner table. This Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni is absolute perfection and capable of wiping away any grumpiness that you might be harboring. Chicken breasts slowly simmered with herbs, garlic, onion, and wine are combined with a mixture of cheeses and spinach. Rolling the filling in egg roll wrappers is so much easier than stuffing manicotti shells, and the filled tubes are so tender and flavorful when covered with a garlicky cream sauce. There are several steps, but nothing is difficult. It is so worth the effort and there will be no grumpy old men here when Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni is On My Plate.

Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni

1 1/2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 lb frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained well
2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour (I use Wondra)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups heavy cream
12-15 egg roll wraps
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, simmer the chicken breasts, onion, broth, wine, and thyme, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken to a plate and allow them to cool slightly.
While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth to remove the onions, garlic, and thyme.
Reserve the broth.
Place the onions, garlic, and thyme into food processor.
Chop the chicken and add to food processor with the onions, garlic, and thyme.
Pulse the chicken in the food processor until finely chopped.
Combine spinach with ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and white pepper.
Add the chicken/onion mixture.
Mix thoroughly; set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter.
Whisk in flour, stirring constantly. Cook a minute to eliminate "flour" taste.
Whisk in the reserved chicken broth, stirring constantly.
Add the wine, then cream. Stir constantly, until sauce is smooth and creamy.
Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, while assembling the cannelloni.
Lay egg roll wrapper on cutting board.
Arrange 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken/cheese filling in a line on one end of the wrapper, roll up.
Pour 1 cup of sauce in a 9x13 baking dish, spread evenly.
Arrange cannelloni in dish, and top with remaining sauce.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. (Serves 12)


  1. As usual, it looks delicious! I love the idea of the wrappers instead of the pasta, too.


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