Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
Pasta shells stuffed with a creamy three-cheese and chicken filling and topped with marinara and crispy bread crumbs. These Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells can be made in advance and freeze beautifully for an easy meal during busy times.
- 24 jumbo pasta shells (about ¾ of a 12 ounce box)
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese divided
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves divided
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken breast (Costco has awesome roti chickens)
- 24 ounces marinara sauce (I like Mezzetta Marinara)
- 3 tablespoons Italian-style panko bread crumbs (like Progresso)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch or slightly larger baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package for al dente (my Barilla shells took 9 minutes). Rinse with cool water and drain well. Separate any nesting shells and transfer them to a large sheet of foil or a baking sheet.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, 2 tablespoons of the basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and mix well.
Spread about 1 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Fill each shell with heaping tablespoon of the ricotta/chicken mixture. Place stuffed shells in the baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and set oven to BROIL. Remove the foil and sprinkle the shells with remaining mozzarella and top with the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in the oven, watching closely, and cook for just a couple of minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons basil before serving.
After topping the filled shells with remaining sauce, cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, remove the dish from the oven and allow to rest for about 30 minutes to take the chill off before baking. Follow baking directions as written above.
After topping the filled shells with remaining sauce, cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty foil or two layers of regular foil, crimping the edges tightly, and place the dish in freezer. It will keep well for up to three months. Before baking, defrost completely overnight in your refrigerator. Do not allow the dish to defrost on kitchen counter. Always defrost fully in the refrigerator for food safety purposes. Follow baking instructions as written above.
Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 1359mg | Potassium: 665mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1170IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 691mg | Iron: 3mg