Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells

Meghan Bassett | Cake 'n Knife
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Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells are a great way to use up that leftover chicken! With two types of cheeses, pesto, and creamy avocado, this chicken pasta dish is packed with flavor. The melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it the decadent, warm-you-up-from-the-inside-out dish you are craving this winter.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells Photo

I always have leftover chicken hanging around in my refrigerator. Whether it’s from a rotisserie chicken I bought, a roasted chicken I made, or just some shredded chicken breast that I intended to put on a salad (no really, I did mean to….), there’s always a container lingering on my refrigerator shelves.

You end up running out of things to do with leftover chicken faster than you think.

This pasta has been my winter savior dish for the past couple of weeks (honestly, I can’t stop making the dang thing)! It’s warm, filling and flavorful.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells Picture

Pesto chicken is always a home run for me. That strong sauce always pops on my taste buds with just the right about of fresh zing and savory flavor. This particular dish happens to be much improved with the addition of creamy avocado.

Yes, the dish is already creamy with the sauce and the ricotta nestled inside those giant stuffed shells. BUT the avocado makes the pesto chicken even creamier. The chicken mixture becomes almost silky in texture.

Like, a melt-in-your-mouth-wanna-slap-your-momma level of creamy deliciousness.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells Image

Yea, for real. That level of deliciousness.

Plus, you even get a sneaky helping of something healthy inside this baked dish! The avocado hides so well inside the dish, no one would even know it’s there.

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells Pic

But trust me, everyone will be asking for the secret ingredient to this cheesy, creamy baked goodness… All you have to do is serve it all up with some crusty bread and white wine!

Instant wintertime dinner success. 

Chicken Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells Recipe

    6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 20 Jumbo Pasta Shells, uncooked
For the Pesto Chicken:
  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Pesto
  • pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
For the Ricotta Filling:
  • 15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
For Garnish:
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a large baking dish (I used a 2QT dish) with cooking spray.
  2. Cook and drain the pasta shells as instructed on the box.
  3. Add avocado to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop the avocado into a large bowl with the chicken, pepper, salt, pesto, red pepper flakes, olive oil and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Combine all of the ingredients for the ricotta mix in a medium bowl. Stir to combine well. Set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter for the sauce. Whisk in flour and cook until golden brown, approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in milk, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Bring sauce to a simmer until thickened, approximately 4 minutes.
  6. Pour sauce into greased baking dish.
  7. Stuff each pasta shell halfway with the ricotta mixture. Fill each shell the rest of the way with the pesto chicken mixture. Place shells in the sauce in the baking dish.
  8. Top with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.

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Meghan Bassett

About Meghan

Meghan is a girl that's passionate about food - straightforward food that anyone can love. It's what you'll find on her blog, Cake n' Knife. There's not much food more straightforwardly delicious than an avocado, that's why Meghan is our avocado fanatic.