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Turkey, Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Shells

April 20, 2011

I saw this Giada recipe and couldn’t wait to try it. I added some spinach and a few other tweaks, but her recipe stands on its own. It’s a great recipe to make in advance and freeze for a busy night. Then all you need to do is preheat the oven and pop in the pan of delicious shells.

You will need:

  • 5 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 oz sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (28-oz + 14.5-oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 (12-oz) box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 t salt, divided
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 jar (8 to 10-oz) package marinated artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water drained/squeezed out
  • 1 (15-oz) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 c grated Parmesan Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 c grated mozzarella

Then you…

  1. In a large, high-sided pot, heat 2 T of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the canned sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
  4. 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, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the turkey, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through.
  7. Add the artichoke hearts and spinach, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  9. To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with about 1 cup of the sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with the turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. (I found it easier to do by hand than with a spoon). Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish.
  10. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Cover the shells with the remaining sauce and top with the grated mozzarella.
  11. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and tinfoil. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  12. To bake, preheat oven to 400. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)
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