Last night I made Chicken-Basil Shells for dinner. I think I found this recipe on one of the blogs that I read but I don’t want to link to it incase it wasn’t that one…..but I think it was from Marie’s ‘A Year at Oak Cottage! We got some Tesco Finest Pasta Shells which I hoped were going to expand quite a lot when cooked. However they didn’t really. Some opened up and some just curled up!

Half gone!

So I don’t think they were good enough to stuff with the mixture. However, the mixture itself wasn’t really ‘stuffable’ (is that a word…?) as it was quite dense. I did cut the chicken breasts quite small but I think it was the density of the spinach that stopped it being more spreadable. I chucked in a whole bag of spinach but didn’t let it cook down enough. When I put it into the dish a lot of the leaves were quite whole. This meant that when I cooked it in the oven a lot of water came out. This mixed with the tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish and the end result was a bit watery. Next time I make it I won’t spread any tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, just on the top, and I’ll cook down the spinach much more too.

BUT after saying all that (!) we both loved this dish. It was so simple and yummy. A tomato sauce, pasta, spinach, basil and cheese. What more could you ask for..???!  Here is the recipe with my modifications for the next time I make it (so confusing writing for the future!) I love how I tried the original recipe but now want to make my own changes, I’m getting good at this cooking lark!!

Chicken-Basil Shells (Serves 4)

  • 20 large pasta shells, or half a pack of shell pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g chicken, diced
  • a handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2oog fresh spinach
  • Box of pasta sauce / two-thirds of jar of tomato sauce / fresh pasta sauce
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 50g Cheddar
  • a little Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Boil a pan of water and cook the pasta shells until al dente.
  2. Cook the onion, garlic and chicken in 1 tbsp oil for 10 mins until the chicken has cooked through.

    Cooking away

  3. Stir in the basil and spinach and cook until the spinach has fully wilted.

    There is chicken under there somewhere!

  4. Take off the heat and stir in the mozarella.

    With the mozzarella added

  5. Place the pasta shells open side up in an oven proof dish, then pour the chicken-basil filling over the top.
  6. Pour the pasta sauce over the filing then top with the three cheeses.

    Mmmmm cheese

  7. Put in the oven for 25 mins until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Enjoy!

    Ready to Eat

    My portion