Nov 29, 2010

IHCC: Warm the Belly, Fill the Soul (Comfort Food)

I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking with Giada. 
Click below to see what's cookin' and for info on how to cook along.


Chocolate, potatoes, and pasta tend to be comfort foods for me.  But if we're talking a get down to business fill my soul type of comfort food, it has to be something stuffed

Maybe the idea of stuff stuffed into other stuff makes me feel cozy.  Maybe stuffing stuff into other stuff makes me feel, well, stuffed.  Which is comforting to me...and everyone else since I'm sort of a reverse Gremlin. I become an ugly, scaly, spittle-dripping, sharp toothed monster if I'm not fed on time.  Come to think of it, Gremlin isn't the word The Husband uses to describe my affliction.  Whatever.

Chiles rellenos would probably top my soul filling stuffing list.  But I'm pretty happy with my own and have recently learned to pay attention to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" rule when it comes to foods I really love.  Cannelloni and other stuffed pasta are also on my list.  Since we're cooking with Giada, stuffed pasta seemed like the thing to do.

I made Giada's Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce for this week's IHCC theme and for Presto Pasta Nights.  I've made this many times for many people.  It's always a hit. 

The arrabbiata's so good that it's hard for me to stop tasting it and leave some for the shells.  It can be described using a string of 3 words.  Possibly some of the best words in the English language.  Three little words that are so beautiful together: spicy bacony garlicky.  I think those 3 words are food speak for I love you.  Big sigh.

The stuffed shells are also very good.  The turkey and artichoke filling is a different approach to stuffed shells.  Unexpected, especially if you're used to cheese or ground beef and cheese fillings.

And did I mention how perfect the arrabbiata sauce is?  Oh, I did that already?

The absolute best is that this recipe makes a huge amount (it can be frozen).
Enough for several meals.
Enough for lots of comforting soul stuffing.

Linked to:
Presto Pasta Nights on Dec 3
hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast

Dishing It Up Recipe Hop's "Fill the Freezer" theme Thrifty Texas Penny

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce
from Giada De Laurentiis/Everyday Italian

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 (I used one 13.5 oz can)

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 (I use bacon)

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced (I use 4-5)

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


  1. Spicy bacony garlicky ='s I love you in my book too. I've always wondered about this recipe. I love the idea of stuffing the shells with artichokes and I really love that you can make it ahead and freeze it. Looks delicious!

  2. You had me at spicy, bacony, garlicy. Seriously.

  3. Spicy bacony garlicky - definite love!
    Great pick!

  4. spicy, bacony, garlicy!!! Me too, me too! This is one amazing dish. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. I do hope you plan on coming back often.

  5. YUMM! This really appeals to me and I don't think I've ever run across the recipe. Thanks!

  6. I'm on board with the others said - bacon AND garlic...count me in!!!

  7. I have had this recipe tagged and your "spicy bacony garlicky" love solidifies that I need to make it soon!
    Awesome pick--it makes my mouth water. ;-)

  8. I'm in for the "spicy bacony garlicky" as well!

  9. Oh yes, spicy bacony garlicky are three of my favorite words, as well. Comforting indeed :D

  10. Well, looks like we are all in agreement on the spicy-bacony-garlicky love - as if there would be any doubt. Am intrigued by the turkey & artichoke stuffing - sounds wonderful. Definitely now on my "must-try" list.
    Sue :-)

  11. This looks fabulous! Pasta is definitely one of my comfort foods too. Thanks for linking up over at Dishing It Up!


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