Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's a boy!
--Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
Everyday Pasta Copyright 2007

1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey I used ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped I used canned
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves I used a lesser amount of dried
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley I used a lesser amount of dried
5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce or marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) I used a 28oz jar
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
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.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy 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 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 the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. (I had enough filling for 40 shells!) Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella.

Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

First of all, it's another boy! It would have been nice to have a girl in the family for a change (the grandparents will now have 10 grandsons and no granddaughters between them), you know I'm practical and I have a mountain of boy stuff in our basement ready to spring into action.

I've had this cookbook for some time but I just haven't been able to work any of the recipes into my menu. I'm not sure why but that's just how it goes sometimes. Between working with food allergies and avoidances, pickier eaters and avoiding expensive ingredients, it limits me a bit.

This recipe caught my eye and even though I had no ground turkey, I had some ground chicken which I think worked well. I made some sacrifices in the name of keeping my grocery bill down and used dried basil and parsley and I also used a cheap jarred sauce which was okay but definitely not as good as any of my usual favorite brands.

These were delicious but the chicken and artichokes were so mild that these shells didn't stand out much from other stuffed shells. All stuffed shells are usually rather delicious.

This is Giada's third cookbook and I think the quality is still good. I think celebrity chefs sometimes run out of good ideas before their book or television deals run out but Giada's still got some good material. I think Paula Deen has run dry - the recipes she's making on her show these days don't seem very personal to her. She's a Southern cook and these days she's making schnitzel and paella. She just can't deliver those recipes with the same conviction she delivered Gooey Butter Cake.

Blast From The Past: Sausage-Stuffed Shells With Chunky Tomato Sauce from April 2006. I loved the shells but the sauce wasn't good (lousy canned tomatoes).

Question of the Day: Do you make stuffed shells? What do you stuff them with?


Astrid Keel said...

congrats on the new addition to your family!! :)

I have [gulp] never made stuffed shells, though i love to order them in restaurants. Seems like there's another thing to add to my ever-growing "to-make" list!!! :)

Jennifer said...

I told you so! (boy, ha ha)

I have never made stuffed shells, I do make stuffed manicotti, though, using a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, that uses lasagna noodles for the manicotti. It has a tomato sauce, and the "shells" stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, mozzerella and fresh basil.

Julie said...


The stuffed shells look fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I stuffed shells once with a ground meat mixture. Can't remember details of the recipe. I really like them and now I've been reminded to make them again soon.

How exciting - another little boy coming! Take care.


Red Dirt Mummy said...

Congrats on the blue flavoured baby!

I made stuffed shells once but we don't get the big shells here that you guys use so they ended up being waaaayyyy too fiddly to bother making again. I think it was a tomato-ey ricotta type sauce. I do remember them being really tasty.

Rebel In Ontario said...

I LOVE BOYS! Welcome to the mommyhood club of two boys!

Anonymous said...

When I make stuffed shells I do 1/2 of them cheese and half of them meat. The cheese ones I just use riccotta, mozzarella, parma cheese, an egg, and parsley. The meat ones are hamburg, sometimes sausage, egg, mozzarella, parsley, sweet basil and some garlic. Or whatever spices I feel like. There are usually only a couple shells left.

Cate said...

Congrats on the exciting news!