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Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni

Chicken Recipe

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni – Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they’re SO tasty!

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

Thank you, ADA Mideast, for sponsoring this post! All opinions are always 100% my own.

Cheesy chicken stuffed cannelloni baked to a creamy and tender perfection. A classic recipe made EASY. These lovely bundles of joy will melt in your mouth!

This cannelloni is a quick recipe that comes together with some fresh spinach, chicken, and ricotta cheese, all topped with an easy creamy sauce.

The sauce on its own is Half & Half, seasonings, and parmesan. The addition of all the cheese in this cannelloni makes the flavors pop even more. Besides, one serving of milk, cheese or yogurt provides 8 grams of protein and 9 essential nutrients.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

The flavors of cheese and milk and yogurt run pretty deep on this blog, including one of my all time favorite recipes, Spinach Artichoke Chicken.

We’re also celebrating June Dairy Month, so you’re free to eat up all the cheese and milk that your heart desires! 

June Dairy Month is a time to celebrate America’s dairy farmers, who provide us with healthy dairy foods. If you have a minute, please hop on over to Drink-Milk.com and meet some of Ohio and West Virginia’s dairy farming families.

You can also check out my own Ohio Dairy Adventure and see me in dairy farming action.

feeding-calf

Just in those two States, dairy farm families raise more than 274,000 dairy cows on about 2,500 dairy farms. In an average year, Ohio and West Virginia dairy cows produce approximately 5.6 billion pounds, or about 656 million gallons of milk. 

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

To get the full benefits of milk, according to the USDA, adults should consume three servings of dairy – milk, cheese, or yogurt – each day. A serving size is 1 cup of milk or yogurt, and 2-ounces of cheese.

My point is that you need this Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni in your life. Especially in June! The cows will appreciate it.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

HOW TO PREPARE CANNELLONI

Bonus tip about this recipe? You don’t have to precook the pasta! Say whaaaat?! *raising the roof*

Edit to add: Some commenters have said that their tubes needed to be precooked because they were still crunchy after baking. I suggest to precook the cannelloni tubes in boiling water for 5 minutes before filling with the chicken mixture.

  • The cannelloni tubes are filled with a warm mixture of chicken (use cooked leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken), cheese, and fresh spinach.
  • The prepared cannelloni are then transferred to a baking dish and arranged over some pasta sauce. Use your favorite pasta sauce, homemade or store bought.
  • For a finishing touch, the cannelloni are topped with a combination of Half & Half and cheese, a liquid that the cannelloni will cook in while baking.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

20-ish minutes later, din din is served! The entire recipe should not take longer than 40 to 45 minutes, from start to finish. The dish is easy to make, kid friendly and makes for some great leftovers.

The ricotta gives a deliciously creamy texture and the sauce results in a beautiful golden crust. Just go make it, dinner-makers!

MORE CHEESY PASTA RECIPES

To meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, learn more about how farmers care for their cows and follow milk’s journey from farm to fridge, visit Drink-Milk.com, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

ENJOY!

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TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS RECIPE

4.73 from 11 votes
Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Resting Time
5 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked cheese recipe, cannelloni, cannelloni recipe, easy baked pasta recipe, pasta dinner, potluck pasta recipe
Servings: 6 Serves
Calories: 434 kcal
Ingredients
  • 12 cannelloni tubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
  • 1 bag (8 to 10 ounces) baby spinach
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook cannelloni tubes for 5 minutes in boiling water; rinse and set aside to cool for a few minutes, or just until cool enough to handle. 

  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes; stir in garlic and chicken and continue to cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Add milk and simmer for 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Stir in ricotta cheese until well blended.
  7. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes, or until wilted.
  8. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  9. Spoon pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  10. Using a spoon, your hands, or even a piping bag, stuff the prepared chicken mixture into cannelloni tubes.
  11. Arrange the cannelloni in a single layer on the bottom of the previously prepared baking dish. Set aside.

    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  12. In a mixing bowl, combine half & half, parmesan, basil, oregano, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; whisk until thoroughly combined.
  13. Pour the half & half mixture over the cannelloni.
  14. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the cream is reduced.
    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  15. Remove from oven and let stand 3 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.
  16. Spoon the sauce over the cannelloni and serve.
Recipe Notes

WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 14

  • For those keeping track of their WW points, try using fat free Half & Half, as well as fat free Ricotta Cheese, and this will cut down your points to 11. 
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni
Amount Per Serving (2 Cannelloni Tubes + Sauce)
Calories 434 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Sodium 411mg 17%
Potassium 545mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 25g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 4g
Protein 38g 76%
Vitamin A 13.5%
Vitamin C 6.1%
Calcium 24.8%
Iron 13.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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25 Responses
  1. LaDonna Shrum

    Cannelloni was hard, not cooked. Had to put back in oven, hopefully it will be cooked and tender but takes much more than 20 minutes.

  2. Shannon

    This looks fantastic but I’m confused with the chicken. Do I add raw chicken to the onions and garlic? Or how do you recommend preparing the chicken so it doesn’t get too dry?

    1. Melanie

      3 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped
      The cannelloni tubes are filled with a warm mixture of chicken (use cooked leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken), cheese, and fresh spinach

  3. Jivita

    Hello, haven’t tried this recipie yet but would love to try it out. Just not clear about the half and half. Could you please explain. Thank you.

  4. Shani

    First ever time I had followed a recipe and genuinely loved the outcome first hand! I was a little lazy and used store brought roast chicken but was so tasty and not dry at all! Also used a whole bottle of pasta sauce instead of just the one cup. Highly recommend! I never even bother to write comments but I just had to here as I was so satisfied

  5. Gigi

    Whenever I make a recipe for the first time, I follow the instructions to the letter. Then if any changes are needed, I feel I can add my 2 cents. This was a delicious recipe, but feel there is room for improvement. I found the cannelloni undercooked as another reader mentioned. I recently made the recipe again with the following changes. I precooked the pasta tubes. I shredded the chicken rather than finely chopping it and did not add the chicken to the onion garlic mixture. The chicken has been cooked and with the additional cooking time, it becomes a little dry. Add the chicken in struction #7. In instruction #11 I made a roux and added the half+half along with the seasonings and simmer till slightly thickened. Also add the Parmesan cheese at this point. These simple revisions made this recipe outstanding and company raved about it. This is not a criticism of the owner of this recipe, just my personal taste. I like this site very much. Bob Appetit

    1. Lesa

      Gigi, I agree with you and made some of the same revisions. I used rotisserie chicken sautéing the garlic and onion first and tossing in my shredded chicken the the milk and it did not dry out. I made my sauce like you with a rue and I added the tomato sauce to it (amazing). The noodles should definitely be precooked next time but other than that it tasted great. I would like to see the recipe worded/arranged a little more prep friendly but other wise this was yummy.

  6. Cindy

    Just tried this recipe exactly as written and while the flavor was delicious. The pasta wasn’t cooked. And the sauce had all dried up. I think if I were to try it again I would either double the white sauce or cover with foil at the beginning of baking to keep more moisture in.

  7. Amanda

    Turned out really good! I used Manicotti shells instead and cooked them first just to be safe. My picky 2 yr old loved it too!

  8. this dish is a thing of beauty! I’ve made this before, but years ago, love it and at the very least this is a nice reminder of a all of these flavors together since you can’t really do this in a ravioli since there’s too much pasta and too little filling, better when you can actually taste the filling in its own concentrated loveliness

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Katerina

I'm a cookie-maker, baker-faker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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