The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Pesto Chicken Shells

5.00 Mitt(s) 2 Rating(s)2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5

Prep:

Cook:

Level: Easy

System:

8

Description

A blend of chicken and basil pesto topped with a creamy Parmesan sauce. Special enough for company and it freezes beautifully.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12 Oz. Size) Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • ¼ cups Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ¼ cups Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk Or Half-and-Half
  • ½ teaspoons Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Red Pepper, Finely Diced
  • ½ cups Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1-½ pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast.cooked And Diced
  • 2 cups Italian Blend Cheese, Divided
  • 1 container (7 Oz. Size) Basil Pesto
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • Freshly Minced Italian Parsley, For Garnish

Preparation

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

For the sauce:
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two until fragrant. Blend in the flour and continue cooking over medium heat for about 2 minutes until bubbly. Slowly add the whole milk or half-and-half along with the Frank’s hot sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan Cheese.

For the filling:
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet, add red pepper and onion and saute for about 3 minutes until soft. Mix sauteed vegetables with the chicken, 1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese, basil pesto and oregano.

In a lightly greased casserole dish (I used my 4-quart) place about 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in the dish. Spoon the Parmesan cheese sauce over the shells and cover the shells as much as possible with the sauce so they don’t dry out when cooking. Sprinkle with remaining Italian blend cheese.

Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly minced Italian parsley if desired.

Enjoy!

2 Comments

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Avatar of thehermitswife

thehermitswife on 3.18.2012

Should I bake this before freezing it or freeze it before baking it? Thanks… it sounds delish!

Avatar of vlmarston

vlmarston on 3.14.2012

This sounds divine! On my weekend to do list, thanks!

2 Reviews

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Avatar of greeleygirl

greeleygirl on 9.2.2012

We all really enjoyed this! Thanks for the recipe, Kim!

Avatar of

on 3.29.2012

My husband and I made this at the weekend and we both really love it! It is easy to make and so yummy to eat! This is going to be one of our monthly go-to recipes and we intend on using it when we have company over, too! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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