Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells

Pasta, cheese, more cheese and oh yeah, buffalo chicken…..

It’s so easy and the buffalo chicken mixture freezes really well for when Stevo is back on his buffalo kick. He’s currently obsessed with pork but I know him too well. Another month or two and all he’ll want are wings and these delicious creatures.

The original recipe called for ground chicken. That, (to me), just screams, “here, come buy this ground chicken stuff that’s made from all the scraps we couldn’t find anything to do with”. No thank you. I opted for two breasts and put them in the freezer for five minutes to firm up. This is an important step if you don’t want a sloppy mess on your hands.

Once pulsed a few times in the processor, it was time for some cooking.

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Be sure to season the chicken well, as it cooks….then in goes the buffalo sauce. We’re proudly a Frank’s Red Hot household. Nothing else will do.

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While that simmers, boil the shells in heavily salted water. Salty like the ocean! Just don’t add the salt until the water is rapidly boiling. You also want to slightly undercook the pasta as it will get baked, once stuffed.

Once the chicken has cooled, add it to the ricotta and refrigerate for a few hours. It will thicken up and be the perfect consistency for those shells.

Now it’s time to assemble…..

20160131_194928Be sure your cooking vessel is greased! Shredded jalapeno jack, (or mozzarella), get sprinkled on top and you’re good to go!

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I like to bake them in individual casserole dishes and garnish with some scallions.

Here’s the original recipe, shared on AllRecipes.com, with my additions.

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir ground chicken in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes; drain and discard grease.
  2. Melt butter in the skillet with the cooked chicken. Stir cayenne pepper sauce into the chicken mixture and remove from heat.
  3. Squeeze as much moisture from the ricotta cheese using a cheese cloth or paper towels; put drained cheese in a large bowl. Add chicken mixture to the cheese and stir. Refrigerate until completely chilled, 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Prepare a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  5. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta shells in the boiling water until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 10 minutes; drain. Rinse with cold water until no longer hot; drain.
  6. Spoon chicken mixture into cooked pasta shells and arrange into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend over the stuffed shells; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is slightly melted and the stuffing is hot in the middle, 15 to 20 minutes.

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