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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Balsamic Chicken Avocado Manicotti


I grew up being lukewarm towards avocados, mainly because having been raised in Ohio, I'd only ever experienced them in mediocre, chain restaurant guacamole. Then I moved to southern California and got to experience what can be done with avocados, and how delicious they are! I've been a convert ever since. I'd mainly used them in Mexican dishes, so I thought I'd change things up and see how they work with Italian. I was very pleased with the results.
I find that the best way to stuff filling into manicotti noodles is with a baby spoon.

Balsamic Chicken Avocado Manicotti

1 8 oz box manicotti shells, cooked per package directions
1 lb Chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil


Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp garlic, 1 small onion (finely diced), 1/2 cup fresh basil (finely chopped), 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/3 cup red wine, 1 tsp brown sugar.

Filling:
15 container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 avocado, peeled and mashed with fork



Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken cubes in large baking dish. Cover with balsamic vinegar, stir with minced garlic. Cover with plastic and marinate in refrigerator while preparing sauce and filling (this step can also be done earlier in the day).
Sauce - In a large stockpot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and onion. Saute 3 minutes over medium. Add basil, sautee 2 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Prepare filling. Combine all filling ingredients in order in a large bowl. Mix just until combined.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet. Remove chicken from marinade and place in pan. Cook until chicken pieces are about 3/4 of the way cooked through (about 2 1/2 minutes on each side). Remove from pan.
Fill manicotti noodles with filling. Place in large baking dish. Top with chicken, then sauce. Cover with foil and heat in oven for 20 minutes, until heated through and chicken is fully cooked.

3 comments:

Kelli said...

I use a baggie and pipe it in like icing. LOL Same for filling deviled eggs!

Anonymous said...

Does this taste & look really avocado-ey? DH doesn't like them and I'm wondering if I could lie and tell him it's spinach or something, lol. Spinach ricotta?
I love avocado. Yummmmmmm.

This recipe looks DELICIOUS. Any chance of making it a veggie dish or does the chicken add too much to the final taste? I find ricotta to be very filling and am always looking for filling & tasty meals that are meatless.

Mags

jennifer said...

I think that even a non avocado lover would eat this. You could definitely do just the manicotti without the chicken, it's delicious on it's own!