Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Last week we had delicious stuffed shells for dinner. My recipe is loosely based off  Giada de Laurentiis' turkey and artichoke stuffed shells with arrabbiata sauce recipe. Yum. I made the original recipe a few years ago and since then I have made a few changes. Many to simplify it (because I so do not have time to simmer homemade sauce on the stove for hours) and healthier.

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove of garlic
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 14.5 oz can artichokes, chopped roughly
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used Kraft Simply ricotta)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (I cheat and use the kind in the squeeze tube. Get some, it will change your life)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce-or homemade if you are amazing like that. 
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Boil water and cook jumbo shells accordingly to package. I would decrease the cooking time by a minute or two because you want them done just slightly al dente. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet in a single layer to allow them to cool. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, add olive oil to medium skillet. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in ground beef and black pepper and cook until brown. Take pan off heat and let meat cool slightly. Add artichokes, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese to meat. Mix well until combined. 

Spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray and spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom. Make sure it is spread in an even layer, covering the bottom of the pan. This prevents the shells from sticking. Fill each shell with about 1-2 tablespoons of filling and place in in baking dish. I think mine holds about 15 shells. Once dish is filled pour remainder of sauce on top, cover with mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Really, all you are doing is heating everything through. You will know when they are ready to come out when the cheese is all bubbly on top. I usually let mine sit for about 5 minutes after coming out of the oven. Things just "stay together" better that way. 

This is great served with garlic bread and/or a salad. Or you can be like us and just eat them by themselves. And if you have extra, the filling is also quite tasty by itself. 

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