As far as the recipe goes, I adapted it from Jolen's recipe. I didn't have any big pasta shells, so I used small ones. I also skipped the chicken just because I didn't want to cook extra chicken just for this recipe. However, if you would like chicken, it would make the dish even more delicious!
Pesto Chicken Pasta (Or just Cheesy Pesto Pasta)
- 1 box of shell pasta (medium shells or small shells)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese (1/4 cup is for topping)
- 3 - 6 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought), to taste
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (can be excluded)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping.
- Pour the pasta into a baking dish that has a light coating of olive oil.
- Take the 'sauce' and spread it over the pasta.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the pasta.
- Bake pasta for 10 minutes, and then give it a good stir.
- Bake pasta for an additional 5 - 15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
* To make ahead/freezer meals - Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.
This recipe was an easy fix and my dad loved it! He mentioned that he liked how the sauce stuck to the pasta because it made it easy to eat. Nice to know, haha. Hope you all get a chance to try it!