Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Stuffed pasta shells is one of the hubster's favorite dishes on our meal rotation. I love the combination of the chicken and spinach with the garlicky tones and hints of thyme paired with the creaminess of the ricotta. It's a rich dish for sure, but it's pretty well balanced and the taste and texture always makes our tummies happy. Whenever I make this dish, I always make a big batch and whatever we have left we just eat it for the next couple of days. Give this recipe a try and let me know if you love it as much as we do. 

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Yield: makes 7 servings


Ingredients:

12 oz. jumbo pasta shells, uncooked
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons fresh thyme
32 oz. full fat ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 teaspoons fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
32 oz. jar vodka sauce
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup scallions, roughly chopped


Directions:

Cook pasta shells al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and place pasta shells on paper towel lined baking sheets. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook minced garlic for 20-30 seconds, add chicken and cook for 7 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and 4 teaspoons thyme. Stir to combine and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from heat and place chicken in a paper towel lined plate to absorb the oils. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup grated parmesan, ½ cup grated mozzarella, 4 teaspoons thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and egg. Add in chopped spinach and cooked chicken, stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place ½ cup of vodka sauce into bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish and place a ¼ cup of vodka sauce into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.

Stuff each pasta with a generous amount of the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dishes. Cover the pasta shells with the remaining sauce, top with ½ cup grated parmesan, ½ cup grated mozzarella and chopped scallions. Bake covered with aluminum foil in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5-7 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!