Dec 20, 2009

Chicken Pesto Spinach/Artichoke Stuffed Shells

I love stuffed shells - but I don't like just the simple ricotta cheese filling.   I tried this recipe a while back, and I loved the addition of the spinach and meat - but I didn't enjoy the texture of the sausage.  So instead I invented this version with all of the flavors that we love - a combo of spinach/artichoke and chicken/pesto.  It truly is a winning flavor combination.  Stuffed shells are not that difficult to make either - you just boil the noodles and fill them with a spoon.   This recipe makes a lot of shells - so it's also a great freezer meal.  Perfect for a busy weeknight - you just pull out of the freezer, cover with sauce and bake!  

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 13 oz. can of artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 10 oz. box of frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and moisture removed by squeezing in a paper towel)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 30 oz. of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 2 boxes of large shell noodles, cooked according to package directions (recipe makes ~50 shells - keep in mind some of them break during cooking)
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce or homemade

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Combine chicken, parmesan, garlic, bread crumbs, artichokes, spinach, eggs, ricotta, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  
3. Once the shells are cooked - lay them out on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil.
4.  Fill the shells with a spoon.  At this point, if you're freezing them - line a cookie sheet with parchment and place single layer of shells in freezer for 1-2 hours, then package in bags or small containers.   

5.  Cover the shells with sauce and cover the pan with foil.  
6.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and shells are cooked through.  

Christine's Cuisine

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