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Chicken and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • December 30, 2014
chicken-and-ricotta-stuffed-shells

Did I mention before I love ALL PASTA!!!

Cheese, pasta and bread…I’m very sure I could live on these three items!!

How lucky am I that I get two of them in this dish! Mix it with some ground organic chicken and that’s a food coma of happiness for me! I’m always very happy to make something that’s pretty quick, easy and kid friendly.

This dish is all of those things. My girls are adventurous eaters (they asked for Thai food for Christmas Eve this year – I happily obliged) and sauce on pasta isn’t a no no for them so this baked pasta works!

chicken-and-ricotta-stuffed-shells

It requires you to make a fast meat sauce and a simple ricotta mixture, pre-cook some pasta shells and stuff them. If you make it the night before and bake it for 30 minutes after work it’s even better. I’ve come up with so many pastas over the years, some hits, some fails. There have been many over the years that I’ve loved but the kids are not in love with. Mostly because they had too many of those pesky veggies kids hate.

I have to laugh because my daughter decided to become a vegetarian a couple of years ago (it lasted for 1 year) and it was always brutal to feed her meals because she in fact hated most vegetables. Hard to be a vegetable hating vegetarian no?? I ended up calling her a carbitarian because all she ate was carbs. Needless to say I eventually put my foot down and said she needed to go back to meat until her palette was a little more open minded!

I love carbs but truthfully eat very little of starchy ones. 98% of the time I don’t eat potatoes, rice, bread or pasta. It’s more of an occasion when I do and I save it for the good stuff. This is one of those dishes for me! Crave, crave and crave again.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs ground Blue Goose Organic Chicken
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1-14oz can san marzano tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 bottle Passata
  • 2 cups ricotta (I used half fat version)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups Freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
  • 500 grams extra-large pasta shells

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a Dutch oven, place onions, garlic and olive oil on medium and sauté until soft. Add ground chicken, oregano, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and chili flakes and cook until browned. Add all tomato purees and simmer for 30 min. Adjust seasonings if needed. Take off heat and cool slightly.
  2. Boil water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10 litre pot and cook pasta until slightly under cooked. Drain water and cool pasta. You may need to gently pull a few of them apart. The oil in the water will help with this.
  3. Place ricotta, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup parmigiano in a bowl and mix it thoroughly.
  4. Fill half of the shells with ricotta mixture and the other half with meat. Place pasta in a large lasagna style pan, alternating the two pastas. You can layer the shell on top of each there as well. Place a thin layer of arugula or cooked spinach over the whole dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining breadcrumbs and parmigiano. Pour 1 cup of water over the top. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 40 min. Remove lid and broil for 5 min.