Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells are marvelous. My husband really liked this dish (which is always a plus!) The shells are stuffed with chicken, cream cheese, freshly grated parmesan and Asiago cheeses, pesto sauce, sauteed mushrooms, garlic and green onions and seasoned Italian-style with oregano, basil, Italian seasoning and parsley. This recipe cooks up to perfection. We love it!
I used leftover chicken from the Roast Chicken the first time I made the recipe. The second time I boiled off two whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot and used that instead. Either way works fine.
I shortened the cooking time on the shells by about 5 minutes so the pasta wouldn’t tear apart when cooking. You want them to be al dente–not cooked all the way through. But make sure you cook them long enough that they aren’t still hard and gummy when you try to eat them either!
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells is a wonderful dish you’re whole family will enjoy. It’s nice enough for company, too. Add a loaf of bread and a side salad and you’re off and running! I loved how this dish turned out and think I may even add artichoke hearts the next time I make it! Yeah!
When I initially published this recipe in April 2013, I was not yet proficient enough to use my Canon camera. Consequently, the pictures were taken with an iPhone so they weren’t quite as nice as I would have liked.
I recently remade this recipe (January 2017) for a Disciple Now weekend at our church. I thought the freshman high school girls I was preparing food for would enjoy this recipe. Not only did they enjoy it, these shells were scooped up and cleaned out almost immediately.
The folks that were hosting the girls also said how much they enjoyed the recipe, grabbing as many of the shells as they could! I served it with a tasty Roasted Cauliflower, Creamy Grape Salad and Peanut Butter Swirl Bars. They enjoyed everything and cleaned it out to the last bite!
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells is an awesome main dish. I loved the richness of the asiago and parmesan cheeses melted over the top of this delicious dish.
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells are some of the tastiest stuffed shells you’ll ever eat.
This recipe did take some prep time but it was worth it.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients. I had previously cooked off boneless chicken breasts in my crockpot.
Pour some olive oil in a skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and saute. Add green onions and saute about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute an additional minute or two.
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add diced chicken, part of the asiago and parmesan cheeses, pesto sauce and sauteed mushroom mixture.
Sprinkle seasonings over top.
Stir ingredients to combine. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make sure you have brought your pasta water to a boil and add pasta. Cook about 2-4 minutes below the package directions for doneness. About 11-12 minutes is all you want to cook them or they will break apart when you work with them.
Spoon shells out and place on waxed paper-lined counter top to cool. Try to separate the shells from each other and provide plenty of space between each one so the shells cool and are easier to work with.
Stuff shells with pesto chicken mixture and place in greased 9×13″ or 10×15″ glass baking dish. Cover shells with foil to prevent shells from browning or drying out.
Bake shells at 350 about 30-40 minutes until bubbling hot. Remove from oven. Remove foil. Add reserved parmesan and asiago cheeses.
Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
Don’t these Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells look delicious?
My batch made about 36 shells–enough for 6-8 generous portions.
This close up shows all the chicken and mushrooms stuffed into the shell. We found this dish very tasty and satisfying. I think you will too.
Here’s the recipe.
PESTO CHICKEN STUFFED SHELLS
(My own concoction)
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked only until ad dente so they don’t break apart
- water for boiling pasta
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for topping)
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Asiago cheese (reserve ¾ cup for topping)
- ½ cup prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic from a jar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 8-oz. sliced mushrooms
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 green onions, diced
- parsley, for garnish
- In a large pot over high heat, boil water and boil jumbo pasta shells about 11-12 minutes instead of the recommended 14-16 minutes.
- Cook pasta shells only until al dente.
- The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.
- Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
- In a large skillet, pour olive oil.
- Sauté mushrooms and green onions about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté an additional couple of minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, pesto sauce, Parmesan and Asiago cheeses (except for reserved topping ingredients), sautéed vegetables, salt, and pepper.
- Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a 9×13” baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cover with foil to prevent shells from drying out and hardening while baking.
- Bake at 350° until shells are bubbling hot—about 30-40 minutes.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over filled shells and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese melts.
- Makes almost 3 dozen stuffed shells.
I amped up the flavors in these shells with plenty of pesto sauce and Italian style seasonings.
Here’s a look at the shells with all the parmesan and asiago cheeses melted over the top.
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells are a nice change from all the recipes made with spinach or marinara sauce. The combination of pesto sauce with the cheeses is superb. The flavors are extraordinary.