Recipe courtesy of Food.com.
- 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded/cut
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells cooked
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups milk or cream
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix chicken, egg, ricotta, parsley, 1.5 cups of mozzarella and ½ cup Parmesan cheese in bowl. Make white sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, add flour. Cook a little, don’t brown. Add milk, salt and pepper, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Cook and stir until thickened. Spread half of the marinara sauce in bottom of pan. Fill cooled shells with chicken mixture. Pour white sauce over shells, add rest of marinara sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake for 40 mins. Uncover, bake another 15 mins or until cheese is melted/crisped to your desire.
I’m going to be honest: this recipe is a pain in the butt. These little heaven-filled shells take me about two hours to make, from boiling the shells and cooking and shredding the chicken to stuffing each individual shell and stirring the white sauce forever until it finally thickens. However, all that being said, it is totally worth it!
For the most part, I usually stay true to this recipe. I always have leftover shells, so one box is plenty. I hardly ever end up using the full three cups of mozzarella cheese and I usually always end up adding more marinara sauce. Adding some frozen chopped spinach would be good; I just never feel like it. (Am I the only one who hates thawing frozen spinach?)
I am absolutely in love with the white sauce. I could eat it with a spoon (and I have), however it takes forever to thicken. I had no concept of time my first attempt making it and the recipe gives no estimate. If you don’t waste time and bring it up to a boil carefully, it shouldn’t take too long to thicken, but it’s definitely the most time-consuming part of the dish. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!