Chicken Cannelloni Alla Puttanesca
by Andrew Biggs, Chef, Hunt & Gather Catering, Portland, Oregon
This classic Italian recipe requires a little forethought, but it’s worth the wait. Get the chicken in the brine the night before so it’s ready to cook when you are.
- 8 ounce package fresh or dried cannelloni pasta tubes
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese (for topping)
- Cheesecloth, as needed
- ½ bunch thyme
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 4 cups water
- ¾ cup salt
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 4 cups ice
- 1 whole (3- to 4-pound) Smart Chicken
In cheesecloth, create a bouquet garni by wrapping the thyme, peppercorns, chili flakes, coriander seed, and fennel seed, and tie with butcher’s twine so none of the ingredients fall out. Place bouquet in pot with the water. Add salt and sugar to the pot and bring to a boil. Once the liquid boils for 3 minutes, turn off and let cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, add ice and set aside until the entire brine is completely chilled. Place whole chicken in brine and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove chicken from brine, drain thoroughly, and pat dry. Place on roasting rack and into preheated oven. Roast chicken until the internal temperature of the thickest portion of the thigh registers 165°F on a kitchen thermometer. Be careful not to burn the chicken: If browning starts to become too dark while roasting, cover chicken with foil. Remove chicken from oven. Once cooled, pick all the meat from the bones and reserve for filling.
- Puttanesca Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup white wine
- 10 whole canned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 4 anchovy filets, chopped
- ¼ cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
- 2 roasted bell peppers, julienned
- 12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
To a medium saucepot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add garlic and shallots and cook until tender. Add the bay leaves and pour in white wine. Continue cooking until reduced to about
3 tablespoons. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the sauce along with the roasted bell peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the chili flakes, anchovies, olives, and capers and reduce to simmer for about five minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Season with salt. Stir in basil just before serving.
To prepare the pasta, submerge a few pasta tubes in boiling water and cook until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once cooked, remove and submerge in an ice water bath until cool. Drain and rub with a little extra-virgin olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking to each other. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
- 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1 cup spinach, cooked and chopped
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 carrot, roasted and diced small
- ¼ cup caramelized onion
- 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons thyme, picked and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Place the filling into a piping bag and pipe it into the cooked pasta tubes. Pour some of the puttanesca sauce (about ¼ inch) into the bottom of a baking dish. Place the filled pasta tubes on top of the puttanesca sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the cannelloni and bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and the chicken filling is heated all the way through, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Pairing: A soft, light red such as French Burgundy