Have you ever filled cannelloni with chicken thighs and smoked bacon? WOW, what a combination, seriously! Serves 6 people, or does it?
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Peel shallots and garlic cloves. Roughly chop half of the shallots and garlic, the other half is for the filling so no need to chop it. HEAT olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the chopped shallots and garlic for about 2 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and toss in the basil leaves.
Blend the sauce until smooth using an immersion blender and season with pepper and salt.
If you bought bone-in chicken thighs, you can easily remove the bones with a sharp fillet knife. Roughly chop the chicken thighs and set them aside. Also roughly chop the pork belly or bacon. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now for the filling. Add the rest of the peeled shallots and garlic to the food processor and chop it for about 30 seconds. Add the roughly chopped chicken thighs and pork belly and let it chop a few seconds more.
Add pepper, salt, a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese, the egg and 100 ml heavy cream. Scoop the filling into a piping bag without a nozzle and refrigerate until ready to use. Now for the Parmesan cheese sauce.
Heat butter in a medium-sized pan and when the bubbles disappear, add the all-purpose flour all at once. Give it a good stir using a wooden spatula and wait about one minute, this way the floury taste will be gone.
Add milk and 300 ml heavy cream little by little and keep on stirring with a whisk to prevent it from creating lumps. For a more detailed explanation, see our béchamel sauce recipe. Stir in another handful of grated Parmesan cheese and whisk again for a smooth cheese sauce.
Start at the bottom of the oven dish with 3/4th of the easy tomato and basil sauce. Then fill the cannelloni with the chicken thigh filling, the easiest way to do this is using a piping bag without a nozzle. Place all the cannelloni in the oven dish, on top of the tomato sauce.
Top it off with Parmesan cheese sauce and drizzle the rest of the tomato sauce in a few places. Finish it off with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and cover it with tin foil.
Bake the cannelloni in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake 10 minutes more, or until the cheese is beautifully golden brown.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a nice green salad. Enjoy!