So, for now, pesto stuffed shells. Cheese, pesto, pasta...baked...yeah it doesn't get too much better than that.
After the mess that Hurricane Irene left behind in Richmond, we got a phone call Sunday afternoon from dad - he and the dogs were on their way. Twenty-four hours without power was enough for him. Mom had been in Cumberland with her sister visiting some aunts of theirs and joined the party Monday. I had already bought food for dinner, and luckily the recipe was flexible enough that I could easily add 2 more.
I found the recipe originally while doing some blog jumping around, and am so glad I did. We'll definitely make this again - and it would be great to take to a friend when a baby is born or if there's a death in the family - it would travel really well.
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I baked 3 chicken breasts, but next time might use a rotisserie)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I skipped this part since my store bought pesto was garlicy enough)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish (this is the messy part). Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.
I didn't cover the dish while they baked and the pasta was a little dry - I think covering them would make a big difference in keeping everything nice and tender. Also, you can make the dish up until you sprinkle it with the remaining cheese and stick it in the fridge for later in the week or freeze it. Just let it warm up for about 30 minutes before baking it.