Dinner for Kaylin's Parents: Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

Uncle Tim and Aunt Jess have a new niece!

We are very excited to welcome the littlest Ogilvie!  Tim’s brother Doug and our sister-in-law Julina are the proud parents of Kaylin Ruth Ogilvie, born on March 27th.  (Our first niece Rebecca Grace Jewell was born to my brother and sister-in-law over the summer.)

We visited Kaylin and her parents last night to wish Doug a belated happy birthday and to welcome Kaylin home from the hospital.  Figuring that the new parents weren’t up for entertaining, we brought dinner.  Because I was cooking up in the Berkshres and we were driving to Westchester, I figured a baked pasta dish would travel well.  I actually saw this baked shells recipe on an episode of Everyday Italian a couple of years ago.  Coincidentally, Giada was cooking for her sister who had a new baby.

I didn’t make many modifications to the recipe.  My local shop in the Berkshires didn’t have frozen artichokes so I used canned which worked well.   I made the arrabbiata sauce starting with a jarred marinara sauce as a time saver.  I typically use Rao’s or San Marzano.  They are a little pricey but are delicious and taste like homemade!

For the cheese, I used full fat ricotta, fresh parmesan, and good quality mozzeralla.  I find the quality of cheese really makes a difference in the final product.

Lastly, make sure you don’t boil the shells for too long.  They shouldn’t be completed cooked because they will cook more in the oven.

The recipe made more than enough for four of us so I created an extra dish that they could freeze.

I served the shells with an antipasto salad that I will post separately and some bread.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the shells!  And, we loved seeing little Kaylin!

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce
Giada De Laurentiis

  • 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
  • 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 cups 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, 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. Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. 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, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups jarred or 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 saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Yield: approximately 6 cups

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