This delectable pasta dish is ideal for parties or dinners. The trinity of pasta, minced chicken and pesto give off a wonderful flavor. Serve it with a creamy soup and some greens to make a hearty meal.
Ricotta or cream cheese would also be good additions to this delicious recipe. Others also prefer topping the stuffed shells with sauce before baking.
20 dried giant pasta shells
2 tablespoons oil
2 leeks, sliced thinly
500g chicken mince
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup chopped pimiento
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
Melted butter or oil for greasing
For the pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven at 180C and then grease a shallow baking dish with melted butter or oil.
Next, cook the pasta shells in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions or until al dente. Add some oil and stir once in a while to prevent sticking. Drain and then place the shells in the greased baking dish.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir-fry the leeks for 2 minutes or until soft. Add the minced chicken and cook it for 4-6 minutes until the liquid evaporates and it is browned. Break up the mince using a wooden spoon as you cook it. Stir in the flour, pimiento and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. After, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 2-4 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and it thickens.
To prepare the pesto, all you have to do is place the basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process it for 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. Â Let it cool and place it in a jar or sealed container.
Place some minced chicken into the cooked pasta shells and return them into the greased baking dish. Top the shells with a spoonful of pesto and grated cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake the pasta shells for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and then transfer the shells to a serving plate or individual plates. Serve warm.