Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells with Alfredo Sauce


Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells
serves 4 or 5 adults
Makes about 20 jumbo pasta shells

Filling:
1 can petite diced tomatoes [drained]
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1/3 cup prepared pesto (homemade** or store bought)
1.5 cups shredded cooked chicken

Alfredo sauce:
3 TBSP butter
2 cups milk [I used 2%]
1.5 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese [ grated from Wedge block, the powdered stuff will NOT get creamy]
3 TBSP flour
1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Heat butter, salt, pepper, and milk in a medium sized microwave safe bowl for 2-3 minutes. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Add cheese and garlic power, heat an additional 2 minutes. When finished, stir until smooth. Heat a bit longer if it doesn't seem to be thickening like you want [ 1 or 2 minutes at most- it WILL thicken up during bake time, I promise] Set aside.

**Homemade Pesto:
* 3 cloves minced garlic [1 tsp garlic powder]
* 2 TB olive oil
*1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoon dried basil - or 2 cups freshly picked young basil leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* ground black pepper to taste

1] Cook shells according to box directions, and rinse with cold water.
2] In a large bowl, combine ingredients [NOT SAUCE]. I use my hands, but a large spoon would work too.
3]Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.
4]Pour Alfredo sauce over filled shells.
5]Sprinkle with Paprika for color.

I used a 9x11 glass casserole dish [sprayed with non-stick cooking spray].

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and lightly golden.

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