September 29, 2005

Chicken and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup PLUS 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt
pepper
32 oz diced tomatoes
12 oz tomato sauce
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 onion, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella (divided)
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (divided)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
jumbo pasta shells, cooked and cooled

Directions:

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper and oregano. Rub in spices. In a ziploc bag add 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chicken breasts. Set aside. In a large pan, use remaining olive oil and butter to saute onions and garlic just until the garlic is fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes, simmer for until sauce thickens, about 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, grill chicken in a grill pan or saute until cooked though. Finely dice chicken and set aside to cool. While chicken is cooling, place spinach in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute until wilted. Remove excess moisture by squeezing it between paper towels. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, nutmeg, spinach, chicken and egg. Mix thoroughly. In a greased lasagna pan, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Fill shells with 1 tablespoon of the cheese/chicken mixture. Place filled shells in a single layer on the sauce. Shells can be placed very close together. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover in foil and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 1/2 hour, then remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the dish looks bubbly and hot.

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