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Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Intro about Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells. It’s very similar to my Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta recipe – and pretty much any chicken alfredo with broccoli recipe anywhere, ever – but a slightly different eating experience because you get way more chicken (and broccoli) to pasta in each bite, especially in comparison to something like fettuccine or pappardelle.

Broccoli is of course my vegetable of choice, but you can easily swap it out for sauteed spinach, roasted tomatoes, or some other veggie. Make sure whatever you choose, you cook it first. If you don’t, the moisture it releases will water down the sauce and final dish.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells recipe:

  • Boneless chicken breasts: My cut of choice, always. Thighs will work fine if that’s your preference. They’ll just need to cook longer.
  • Pappardelle pasta: Big, thick, meaty noodles add an extra bite to this pasta, making a bit more hearty than just your usual Fettuccine Alfredo. You
  • Broccoli: I like buying crowns because they’re easier to trim into florets, but whole stalks will work well.
  • Salted butter, half-and-half, aged parmesan: The main components of our sauce. If you like more sauce you can increase the amounts of both of these by about half a cup. It shouldn’t take any longer to cook down. You can go for unsalted butter and fresh parmesan if you prefer. Heavy whipping cream also works instead of half-and-half.
  • Olive oil: Our fat of choice for the Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: Not enough to make it spicy, but enough to cut through the cream and add some bite. Adjust as needed.
  • Paprika: Honestly it’s just for color. You can omit it.
  • Italian seasoning: Just your basic mix of dried herbs like parsley, oregano, basil, and thyme.
  • Kosher salt: To season the chicken, and if needed, as needed.
  • Cracked black pepper: For a sharp finish to our Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells.
  • Equipment: I call for a medium saucepan to cook the chicken and build the sauce, but any decent sized pan with high sides will do. Here’s everything I used:
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

How to Make Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells recipe:

  • Marinate the chicken. In a small bowl, combine the Cajun seasoning and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix into a marinade and work into the chicken. Allow the chicken to marinate for half an hour, or up to overnight, in the fridge.
  • Cook the chicken. Drizzle the remaining oil into a cast-iron skillet and let it heat until the oil is shimmering. If you marinated it in the fridge, make sure you pull the chicken 20-30 minutes before you start cooking so it can come to room temperature. This allows it to cook more evenly. Add the chicken in a single layer and let cook undisturbed for 7 minutes, then flip. Cook until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes more. When done, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest.
  • Build the sauce. Begin heating the salted water for your noodles and broccoli, and in the same cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, then whisk in the heavy cream and all of the seasonings. When warmed through, whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Boil the pasta and broccoli. The water should be boiling by now, so while the alfredo sauce is cooking, add the pasta. Cook for 7 minutes, then add the broccoli. Cook together until the pasta is al dente, about 3-5 minutes more, then drain. This will all vary greatly based on your stove and preferences.
  • Prepare to bake the Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells . Grab a 9×13 baking dish and lightly grease it with either baking spray or olive oil to prevent sticking. Ladle about half a cup or so of alfredo sauce into the bottom of the pan. Spread it around. 
  • Stuff the shells. I use my hands and a spoon, holding the shell open in my hands and using the tip of the spoon to force it in. Some folks use a piping bag – or a ziploc bag when the end cut off – to squeeze it in. Overfill them just a little so that the shells stay open and the filling is visible. Place them side by side, squeezing them in together (not too tight) so they remain stable and upright. Continue until something runs out, or the pan is full.
  • Bake it up. Spoon the remaining sauce over the tops of all the shells. Once that’s finished, cover everything with the mozzarella, evenly and completely. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is just beginning to brown. Remove and let the Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells rest for a few minutes before you dive in. Enjoy! Dassit!
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Other Alfredo Recipes to Try

I love Alfredo sauced pasta, so I have quite a few recipes featuring it. Not into stuffed shells, or just looking for something different? Try these:

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Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells


  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Description

A new family favorite here. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb jumbo pasta shells
  • 4 C broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces*
  • 2 1/4 C half-and-half
  • 2 C low-moisture mozzarella, grated
  • 1 1/2 C aged parmesan, grated
  • 1 C reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 C salted butter 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp kosher salt, divided, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning 
  • 1/4 cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Grab a mixing bowl and to it add your chicken, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp of kosher salt. Stir together until all of the chicken is coated in the oil and the seasonings are distributed throughout. Allow the chicken to marinate for 15-20 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375°F and place an oven rack smack dab in the center. Grease a baking dish – at least 9×13 – lightly with baking spray or oil and set it aside. Prepare the salted water to boil your noodles in.
  3. Place a large non-stick skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat and allow to preheat for 2 minutes. If it’s not completely nonstick feel free to add a drizzle of olive oil, just enough to cover the surface. Add the chicken in a single layer – go in batches, if needed – and let cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, then give it a stir and toss it around so the sides of the chicken that haven’t made contact with the pan get some action. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes more. Set the chicken aside to rest while you make the pasta and sauce. 
  4. To the same pan you cooked the chicken in, add the butter. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the butter to melt. When it has, whisk in the grated parmesan and half-and-half. Stir in the black pepper. Let the sauce simmer uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. The water you prepared earlier should be boiling by now, so while the alfredo sauce is cooking, add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli. Cook together until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli becomes an intense, bright green, then use a strainer to remove the broccoli from the water and add it to the bowl of cooked chicken, making sure to let the excess water drip off into the pot first. Drain the pasta shells – don’t forget to reserve some water! – and set them aside, as well (you can leave them in the pot they cooked in). 
  6. The sauce should have thickened and reduced just a tad by now. Give it a stir, then whisk the pasta water into the sauce. Give it a taste, and add salt or adjust for seasonings as you see fit, then turn off the heat and replace the lid. 
  7. While you wait for the shells to become cool enough to handle, work on the filling. To the bowl of chicken and broccoli, add 1 cup of mozzarella and 2 cups of the hot alfredo sauce. Use a wooden spoon to stir it all together, until the cheese has melted and everything is well distributed. Grab your baking dish and ladle about half a cup of alfredo sauce into the bottom of the pan. Spread it around. 
  8. Now it’s time to stuff! I use my hands and a spoon, holding the shell open in my hands and using the tip of the spoon to force it in. Some folks use a piping bag – or a Ziploc bag when the end cut off – to squeeze it in. Overfill them just a little so that the shells stay open and the filling is visible. Place them side by side, squeezing them in together (not too tight) so they remain stable and upright. Continue until something runs out, or the pan is full.
  9. Now, ladle the remaining sauce over the tops of all the shells. Once that’s finished, cover everything with the remaining mozzarella, evenly. You can add extra cheese if you want full coverage. I finish with little bits from the bottom of the bowl of broccoli and finishing pepper for garnish. 
  10. Place the shells in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top has turned golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving, and enjoy. Dassit! 

Notes

  • Broccoli is just one option. Feel free to swap it out with your preferred – already cooked so it doesn’t water down the sauce – vegetable. 
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
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