Yesterday I asked myself, what kind of pasta dish could I take to a finger food party!? A hearty, warming dish for kids and adults alike. It came to me: stuffed shells, but modified. Made al dente so they don't fall apart, subbing cream cheese for ricotta for a less runny result, and with sauce mixed in filling so they work as finger food. I took some shortcuts with what I had on hand: rotisserie chicken, jarred marinara, garlic cheese sprinkle and dried herbs. I only had 45 minutes max. Success! The first empty dish at the buffet table. Now I am wondering...what would this taste like with my own sauce, fresh herbs, a juicy homemade chicken. If you have that on hand, try and see. —augustabeth
Jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente 10-11 minutes, drained
Precooked chicken, diced small
Cream cheese, slices into chunks
Onion, finely diced
Celery stalk, finely diced
Each: dried parsley, oregano, thyme
Garlic bread seasoning, like Johnny's, or just extra Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and salt
Put onions in large saute pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook onions on low heat until almost carmelized, add celery and cook a couple minutes more. Then add chopped garlic gloves. Deglaze pan with a splash of red wine.
Add chicken and cream cheese to pan. Stir until melty, then pour in remaining sauce. Add spices. Bring to simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Spray a 9x13 pan with canola oil. Spread a thin layer (about 2 ounces) of marinara sauce in bottom. Place cooked shells in pan, touching. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in each shell. Using a very small scoop makes this easy.
Scatter finely grated Parmesan cheese over the top of each shell, without going too crazy. Keep in mind this is a finger food!
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then broil a couple of minutes to melt and brown cheese a bit.
Can be made the day before, kept in fridge covered in plastic, and baked before serving.