I have been making these stuffed shells for the past few years, they are a permanant fixture in my recipe book. I make them every year for my Mother’s Day dinner that I host for my family and everyone raves about them. They aren’t your run-of-the-mill stuffed shells at all, they are stuffed with turkey and artichokes, which makes them not only delicious, but more hearty. You have meat, vegetables and pasta all in one dish!
These shells are made extra special because they are served in an Arrabiata Sauce, providing a subtle kick to the dish. The sauce is easy enough to make and if you have any leftovers you can serve it over some other pasta on a night you don’t really feel like cooking.
Another great aspect of these shells…you can prepare them a day ahead and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. Also, you can freeze them. Oh, and if that isn’t good enough, they get even better as leftovers. I’ve had leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and they are even more delicious than the first day!
I got this recipe from Giada’s show years ago and only made a few slight changes. My version is below.
Here’s what you will need to serve 6-8 people…
1 (12-ounce) 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 teaspoon peperoncino (red pepper flakes)
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 – 2 (15-ounce) container(s) ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (heaping) chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded or grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
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, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain.
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, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and peperoncino and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with one 15 oz container ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Note: If you want to make some extra shells you can add extra ricotta cheese to this mixture to bulk it up. I usually make a box and a half of shells, so I add in about half of another container of ricotta.
Now here comes the fun part…stuffing the shells! Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce (recipe below). Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey and cheese mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full. Drizzle Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the mozzarella. As you will see I don’t glob on the mozzerella cheese, but that’s just me. If you want to glob it on, go right ahead.
If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown and the sauce is bubbling away, about 20 minutes (60 minutes if shells are frozen.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced pancetta (sliced thick), coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups fresh marinara sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
Giada’s original recipe can be found here…