Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Posted on September 7, 2011


Stuffed shells before the final addition of sauce and cheese

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

This recipe has been adapted slightly from Giada’s Everday Italian Cooking Show.

We love this recipe.  My family is always pleased to see I have cooked this for dinner.  It is one of our favorite meals!  This recipe can also be adapted to suit what you have one hand.  Don’t have shells?  Then just use any small tube like pasta, or even macaroni, and mix it with the filling before pouring the sauce all over it?  No Canadian Bacon?  The smoky flavor is the important thing.  You could also use bacon, or as the original recipe calls for, Pancetta (I can never find that where I live).


(12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells

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 14 oz. can artichokes, rinsed, drained, 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 (or 1 tsp. dried)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 2 tsp. dried)

5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows

1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Cook the shells in boiling, salted water for about seven minutes or so.  They should be soft enough to work with but still be quite undercooked, with a firm bite.  They will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want them to be too mushy.  Rinse in cold water.

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.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Arrabbiata Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces Canadian Bacon, chopped

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes  (It adds a slight hotness, but you can omit or reduce if this makes you nervous)

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 cups store bought sauce OR what we like, roasted tomato sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until slightly browned, 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.

My family always gobbles this up–I can hardly manage to have any leftovers.