Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Sharp Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This is a great dish for a family dinner night. It can be made ahead and held in the fridge until ready to bake. Kids and adults like this one.

1 and 1/2 cups low fat or skim cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh, chopped herbs, (basil, parsley, or dill-- or your favorite)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh tomatoes (seeds squeezed out before chopping)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-- cooked and cut into small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
20-24 jumbo shells
Cheddar cheese sauce (recipe below)

1) Whiz the cottage cheese and egg in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Add in the Parmesan and herbs and whiz again to incorporate. Mix this with the chopped tomatoes and cooked chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2) Cook shells until just al dente-- do not overcook, as they will cook again when baking. As they are cooking, make the cheese sauce. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water, drain well again and stuff with the chicken mixture. Spoon the cheese sauce over top of the stuffed shells and bake in a preheated, 350F oven until golden and bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Cheese Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons Wondra or all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (full fat, low fat or skim)
Dash of nutmeg
6 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, the stronger the cheese, the better the flavor
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the shallots and cook until soft, then pour in the wine and bring to a strong bubble. Cook for a minute or two then shake the milk and flour together in a jar and pour into the saucepan. Bring this all to a very gentle simmer and bubble away for three minutes-- stirring often. Remove from the heat and add in the shredded cheese, stir well, taste and season with salt and a dash or two of cayenne pepper. Allow to cool a bit, then pour over the shells and bake.

Serves 6-8

1 comment:

N. Marcus said...

Hi Jenny. How do you recommend I cook the chicken for this recipe. Do you boil it, or is there a way to make it better?