Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

Stuffed pasta shells are a regular favorite in our household. When I can't figure out what I want to cook, these are always a good bet because I know my husband loves them. My recipe comes from my sis-in-law's artillery and is very good. It combines ground beef (or turkey), Velveeta, cream of mushroom, Parmesan for a delicious filling.

With our love of stuffed shells, I was practically drooling when I found this recipe on Pinterest. My bestie, LJ, says the large shells look bizarre and freak her out. Isn't that interesting? I think I'll make these the next time she comes over. JK, LOL, XOXO! 

In the future when I make these, however, I will adapt between my recipe and the Pinterest recipe. The stuffing is perfection, but without any type of sauce, the shells get very chewy and difficult to cut when you serve them. And even if you like shells, I guarantee you won't like chewy shells.

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
  • Coat the bottom of the baking dish in a thin layer of spaghetti sauce and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish. Cover with as much spaghetti sauce as you like and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.