Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pesto Chicken Shells

I am really excited to share this recipe with you.  I have been trying to perfect this one for awhile and I've finally gotten the stamp of approval from my family. My oldest daughter told me this tasted better than anything from an Italian restaurant. Trust me that made my night! This is the perfect recipe if you're having company or need to take a meal to someone. You can make it early in the day and bake it when you are ready to eat.  It also freezes well.
Pesto Chicken Shells
1 box (12 ounce) Jumbo Pasta Shells

For the Sauce:
1/4  cup unsalted butter
2  cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
1/4  cup flour
3  cups whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2
1/2  teaspoon Frank's hot sauce
1  cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the Filling:
1  tablespoon olive oil
1/2  cup red pepper, finely diced
1/2  cup onion, finely diced
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced
2  cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian Cheese Blend Cheeses,divided
1 container (7 ounces) Basil Pesto
1/2  teaspoon dried Oregano

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 1/2 and 1/2 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 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, 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 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with freshly minced Italian parsley if desired.



Linked to the following parties:
Gooseberry Patch Chicken Recipe Round Up
Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday
Inside BruCrew Life Trick or Treat Tuesday
Love Bakes Good Cakes All My Bloggy Friends
Feeding Big In and Out of the Kitchen
Buns in My Oven What's Cookin Wednesday
White Lights on Wednesday Wednesday Whatsits


  1. I made shells this week too!!! Yours look super yummy! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Have a blessed week & come back soon. ~EMM

  2. These look so, so good! I'm making them tomorrow. :-)

  3. these are truly delicious! I sub'd skim milk and the sauce was still yummy. I'm making these again!

    1. Thanks so much! I've made them with 1 percent and they have turned out great. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit. Have a terrific week!

  4. What a great idea, this looks wonderful! That filling sounds absolutely delicious!

  5. Thanks for sharing with us at In and Out of the Kitchen
    Dawn co host

  6. What a delicious looking dish. I must try it.


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