Turkey and artichoke stuffed shells

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We tend to not make many baked pasta dishes, but this is one that we keep coming back to.  It was originally based on Giada’s baked shell recipe, but we have made some modifications, so we’ll repost it below.

Ingredients

1 box jumbo shells
2  (12 oz) bags frozen artichoke hearts
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped very fine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz container ricotta
2 eggs
1 cup shredded cooked spinach (optional)
1 cup shredded or grated Italian cheese.
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Dried thyme, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper
Tomato sauce (5+ cups is preferable)

Method

Prepare tomato sauce according to your preferred recipe.   Any time we bake shells or manicotti, we like an arrabbiata type sauce, so we spike our usual tomato sauce with a teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes.

While that is simmering, saute onion and turkey.  Add seasonings to taste.  Our preferences for which herb to bring forward on any given day changes, so I omitted amounts.   Meanwhile, thaw the artichokes  and give them a rough chop, so they’re roughly the same size as the onions.  Mix those with the ricotta, egg and spinach (if you’re using it).  If you want to add more herbs, now is a good time. Once the saute is done, allow it to cool, then add to the filling.  Add the parmesan and half of the other cheese.  Cook the shells according to the instructions on the box.  Drain, and I usually dump them in a bowl of cold water to cool them down quickly so I can handle them.   In a 9×13″ baking dish, ladle 1/4 of the sauce and spread it evenly.  Fill the shells and line them up in the pan.  Ladle another 1/4 of the sauce over them, and sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese.  Repeat with a second pan.  Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling.

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