08 September, 2012

Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Spinach Béchamel | The Times-Picayune

Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Spinach Béchamel ingredients
Makes 4 servings
For spinach béchamel sauce:
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, heated
1 (10-oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, cooked, drained and squeezed dry
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Shells and filling:
12 large seashell-shaped pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chopped green onions
1 cup chopped, fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp finely chopped prosciutto or tasso
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and cayenne to taste
1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Make the spinach béchamel sauce:  Heat butter in a small saucepan and gradually stir in flour. Cook and whisk for about 3 minutes, until mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in milk, stirring until mixture is smooth and thick. 

Purée spinach with half of this sauce in a food processor. Combine spinach mixture with the remaining béchamel sauce and season with salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Set aside and keep warm. 

Prepare the shells:  Cook the pasta shells in plenty of boiling, salted water for about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, then let stand in a bowl of cool water until ready to use. 

Make the filling:  Heat the butter in a skillet and sauté the shallots and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add the prosciutto or tasso; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and parsley and remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. 

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese and blend. Fold this into the chicken mixture and mix well. 

Assemble:  Heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Drain the pasta shells; invert on paper towels and pat dry.

Fill the shells with the chicken mixture and arrange them in the prepared baking dish. Spoon béchamel sauce over top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Bake:  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

This Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Spinach Béchamel recipe is from Marcelle Bienvenu, The Times-Pacayune (January 12, 2012).

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