I wanted to share with all of you a fabulously delicious recipe that I came across (here) the other day. It’s an amped up and slightly healthier version of the Italian classic: stuffed shells. However, instead of simply stuffing these shells with a cheese concoction, they are filled with ricotta, Parmesan, ground turkey, artichoke hearts and a few other tasty ingredients. I also whipped up an arrabbiata sauce to drench them with; it is divine.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
For The Shells
– 1 (12-oz) box jumbo pasta shells
– 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 pound ground turkey
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
– 1 (8 to 10-oz) can artichokes hearts
– 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
– 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce (recipe follows)
– 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (check the package instructions for times). Drain the shells and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper.
4. Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in your hand and stuff it with the turkey/artichoke mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell. Place the shell in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining shells until the baking dish is full. Drizzle the remaining 4 cups of Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and then top with the mozzarella. At this point, you can freeze the shells for up to a month by covering the baking pan with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placing it in the freezer.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes for frozen shells or 20 minutes if you bake them immediately after prepping.
For The Sauce (makes about 6 cups)
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
– 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 5 cups jarred or homemade marinara sauce
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
2. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
Pretty yummy looking, right? Happy cooking, friends! 🙂