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Author Notes: 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
Makes 16 shells
- 12 ounces Jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente 10-11 minutes, drained
- 1/2 pound Precooked chicken, diced small
- 8 ounces Marinara sauce
- 6 ounces Cream cheese, slices into chunks
- 1 Onion, finely diced
- 1 Celery stalk, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 3 Garlic cloves
- splashes Red wine
- 1 teaspoon Each: dried parsley, oregano, thyme
- 1 tablespoon Garlic bread seasoning, like Johnny's, or just extra Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and salt
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese
- 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.