Rich zesty Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells, a unique fusion of flavors that dazzles at the dinner table!
Stuffed Shells are one of my kids’ favorites dinnertime treats. You’ve got to agree, stuffing jumbo pasta shells with cheese filling is a sure-bet mood enhancer after a long tiring day as school.
Lately I’ve been tinkering with a couple of my classic stuffed shell recipes, to mix things up at dinnertime.
Avocados provide a rich silky texture and a bright mellow essence to just about any dish.
I thought it would be fun to use them as the base of an ultra creamy pesto recipe to lighten the overall flavor.
Traditional pesto is usually made with fresh basil, nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
In my version of avocado pesto, I like to skip the basil, because it over powers the delicate flavors of the avocados, and go with cilantro (or parsley) instead.
However, I did still use a small amount of olive oil for flavor, and pistachios for a strong nutty finish.
This combination brings together the taste and texture of good guacamole, with a classic Italian pesto… We’re kind of crazy over it.
In fact, if you have any avocado pesto leftover after stuffing the shells, it makes an amazing dip!
To make Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells, puree the pesto in a food processor, then stir together a quick ricotta and parmesan mixture.
Pinch the ends of each cooked shell to open the top wide, and spoon in ricotta filling.
Then spoon in a heaping portion of avocado pesto…
Bake the shells for 15-20 minutes, then cover with a little more cheese and pop the dish back in the oven to melt the cheese on top.
That’s it. Simple, unique, and ridiculously delicious!
There were What-About-Bob style growns happening around our table the first time I served Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells.
If you are looking to introduce flavor combinations to your family, this Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells recipe is tantalizing springboard into a world of possibilities.
Give them a try!
Avocado Pesto Stuffed Shells
- 6 ounces jumbo shell pasta (about 24 shells)
- 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese divided
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 teaspoon salt
Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta shells and cook for 6-9 minutes, to al dente. Drain the pasta and set the shells in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- For the Avocado Pesto: Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture comes together into a mostly smooth paste. If the pesto seems a little glumpy, add 1/4 water then pulse to combine.
- For the Ricotta Filling: Mix the ricotta, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, and salt together in a bowl.
- Pick up each shell and gently squeeze the ends to open the shell wide. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of ricotta filling in each shell. Then spoon 1-2 tablespoons of avocado pesto into each shell, pushing the ricotta to the side. Brush water over the top of the shells in order to help the shell edges not get too crispy.
- Bake the shells for 15-20 minutes. Then sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella over the top and bake another 2 minutes to melt. Serve warm!