Sunday, October 3, 2010

Super Stuffed Shells

I haven't done a lot of food blogging.  Wait...that isn't true.  Practically all I blog about is food and Stafford.  But I haven't done any cool food blogging.  You know the kind where people take really cool pictures at every step of their meal and then present you with this Food Network worthy plate at the end?  I decided today that if I want to get better at cooking and better at photography then I better start doing "cool food blogging." is attempt numero uno!

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
recipe courtesy of my Food Network fav....Giada!!!

Here are your ingredients!  I made some substitutions....if you've read my other recipes you know I usually do.  I'll tell you when, why and whether or not I recommend it.

1 12-oz box jumbo pasta shells
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion-chopped
3 garlic cloves-chopped
1lb ground turkey
1 8-10 oz can or frozen pkg artichoke hearts
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 cups marinara sauce
11/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 5 oz)

We'll start with the easy stuff!  Chop your onion & your garlic & add it to the saute pan with the olive oil.  I cheat and buy the jars of pre-chopped garlic.  Not all the time but just in case I need it.  Today I needed it.
 Saute your onions & garlic until soft.  Add the ground turkey.  Cook through and then add chopped artichoke hearts.  I bought the can....Giada used the frozen package.  Just use whatever you keep on hand.  I always have a can or two of artichokes in the house so it was a can for me today.

While you saute your turkey drop your shells.  You only need to cook them for about 4-5 minutes so watch them carefully!  I always overcook my pasta and if you watch the Food Network they tell you that is bad bad bad!  Make sure you lightly salt your water.  This is your only chance to flavour your shells just a touch.

While your turkey sautes and your shells boil mix up the rest of your stuffing.  Gently beat your eggs and then add the ricotta, Parmesan, basil, parsley and 1/2 tsp of salt & pepper.  Here is where I have to deviate from Giada a bit.  Clearly she has an unlimited cheese budget.  If you read her cookbooks they are filled with fresh mozz, Gouda, fresh get the picture.  I don't have the budget for that.  So today I substituted the kind you get that is pre-grated.  I also didn't have the fresh basil or parsley (thus prompting a trip to Lowe's to buy a new basil plant earlier this evening) so I did without.  I usually do not skimp on the fresh herbs and I wouldn't suggest it.

Check your shells!  Drain them and let them cool.  Combine your cooled turkey-artichoke saute and your ricotta filling together in a large bowl.  Fill each shell with about 2 Tbsp of the yummy mixture!

Cover the bottom of your 9x13 pan with your marinara sauce.  I cheated again here.  Giada makes homemade sauce.  Sorry Giada, I'm a new Mama.  I don't have time for homemade sauce.  Therefore the store bought kind will do just fine for me! (She says you can use store bought sauce in the cookbook but I still kind of feel like she's judging me for my lack of homemade sauciness!)

Once you've filled all your shells your pan should look like this!

Pour your leftover sauce overtop the stuffed shells and then sprinkle with your mozzarella.  You are ready to bake!!  Bake for 25 minutes or until your cheese starts to get golden brown.  Yum!!

Here is the cursory "on the plate" shot.  It isn't good because we were super  hungry!  Something tells me these picture recipe blogs are not usually completed when you have a hungry husband waiting in the background!

I will definitely be making this recipe again.  It is a little bland (all the more reason NOT to leave out the fresh basil & parsley) but other than that it is great!  It is filling but it's a lighter pasta dish.  It also makes a TON so Peter will be eating stuff shells for lunches all week long. :)  Let me know if you try it and if you like it!


Amber said...

1. I must admit......I always use the pre-chopped garlic.
2. and pre-made sauce
3. and herbs in the jar (except cilantro)
4. I was going to try it, but it looks like it may take a long time to prepare. Does it?

Amber said...

p.s.-Where is the guacalsa recipe???

Laura said...

no it doesn't take long at all! just mix up your ricotta mix while your turkey is cooking and your shells are boiling....then fill the shells and bake! i'll send you the link for the gualsa...we live on it!!!

Gina said...

Uh, you should post that guacalsa recipe, Hook.

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