These Stuffed Shells with Chicken and Walnut Cream can double as comfort food or company fare.
This is also a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or turkey, especially because you can use a combination of white and dark meat to use up all the little leftover bits.
Do you ever feel like your fridge and freezer are overflowing but there is nothing to eat?
It happens to me because I like to make sure I have a lot of ingredients on hand in the fridge, panty or freezer 'just in case'.
We used to joke if there was a natural disaster we would go to my Mom's because she had an extra set of cupboards stocked with canned goods and a VERY big, well-filled chest deep freeze. We could have eaten for weeks without shopping I am sure.
Maybe the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree......
So this recipe started out with - I had better use up all those mushrooms.... Followed by - those walnuts in the fridge freezer keep falling out of the door every time I open it....
Then I started thinking walnuts and mushrooms are a good combination. Should be something creamy. Creamy goes well with chicken ... and pasta... and voilà...a recipe is born!
- Prepare the filling while the pasta is cooking. You will want it ready to go when the shells are rinsed so they don't dry and stick together. Shells tend to break or tear easily so cook a few extra and handle them gently at all stages.
- Depending on the number of courses or sides you serve this makes 4-6 servings.
- As a variation you could add some chopped fresh spinach to the sauce just before you pour it over the shells to up the veggie quotient.
- For a company dish consider adding an additional quarter cup of vermouth to the sauce along with the broth.
- This dish freezes and reheats well.
- 20 jumbo pasta shells
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast or could be from a rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- ¼ cup dry vermouth
- 2 Tbsps butter
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup dry vermouth optional
- 2 cups light cream
- 4 cups mushroom slices
- 1 cup grated fontina or other mild cheese
- 1 cup grated Gran Padano
- 3 sprigs tarragon
- 4 Tbsps flour
- 4 Tbsps cream
- Cook pasta shells to al dente according to package instructions. Cook a few extra in case some tear badly. Handle gently to avoid damage to the shells. When done cooking rinse gently in cold water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13" baking pan with cooking spray.
- Pulse the chicken, walnuts and vermouth in food processor until they are uniformly small pieces. (Not a paste but a fine texture).
- With a tablespoon fill each shell with chicken mixture and position filled shells in baking pan.
- If you have chicken mixture left over sprinkle it evenly over the top of the shells in the baking pan.
- Melt the butter and saute the mushrooms about 8 minutes until the juices are released and slightly evaporated.
- Remove the mushrooms and set aside. Add the chicken broth, vermouth if using and tarragon sprigs to the pan and simmer about 8 minutes.
- Return mushrooms to the pan and and the cream. Heat through. Remove the tarragon sprigs. Add the fontina and gran padano cheeses stirring to melt evenly.
- Make a slurry by adding the 4 Tbsps cream to the 4 Tbsps flour. Mix into the sauce stirring constantly. Simmer til thickened.
- Pour the sauce over the stuffed shells and bake about 30 minutes till heated through.
- Serve hot.