Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells

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
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
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

for final cooking day:
sauce of choice
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella

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.

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. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover the shells with pasta sauce of your choice. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen).

This recipe makes a huge batch and unless you are cooking for a dinner party you'll want to freeze a portion of the recipe. We usually divide one full recipe between two families and then split each of those portions into two meals, so about 1/4 recipe feeds a (two adult, 2 kid) family if other sides are served.

The original recipe plus the sauce recipe can be found here.

2 Weight Watchers points per shell with sauce and cheese.


  1. I made half of my portion last night for dinner. We each took home half of 1 "recipe" so that means 1/4 of a recipe fed my family and we still had leftovers!

    I thought they were really good. I wouldn't mind serving it again and again!

  2. I also served these last night for dinner and probably had 1/2 the dish left over. This will become a staple in our household. Never asked Laryssa if they were hard to prep. My kids ate them up.

    The cool thing about this dish is that it is worthy of a dinner party. It is pretty and delicious and you can make a lot of it. The fact that it can be made ahead of time means that you can prep the meal days in advance and worry about cleaning and making fresh salads and appetizers the day of your party. Next time I'll probably make the full recipe and package them into several meals.

  3. I should have taken a picture after it was baked. It looks totally different (and yummy) after the sauce and cheese are added.

    So Jodi, does this mean we're invited over for a dinner party?!

  4. I agree with Lisa and Jodi--next time around I will divide my recipe in 1/2 (or technically 1/4 if you are making the full recipe). Even my picky 4 year old ate this up--she didn't even notice the artichoke! As a note, ours got a little dry when reheated the next day for lunch, so if you plan for leftovers, maybe reserve a little extra sauce!

  5. It also works very well to freeze the stuffed shells this way:

    Lay the stuffed shells on a cookie sheet with enough space between them so they aren't touching. Freeze the whole sheet until the shells are frozen. Now you can transfer to a freezer bag or covered container.

    This way you can easily remove just enough for a meal for one or two.


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