I met Nikki last summer when we were driving from New York to Chicago. We stayed with her family just outside Cleveland after a long day battling near-death experiences on the Pennsylvania turnpike. We were hot, exhausted and more than a little cranky. But she greeted us with her husband, two amazing children, lots of wine, these turkey & artichoke-stuffed shells, bread and a summer salad. Then all was right with the world. We even got some leftovers that were perfect for dinner when we got home.
For Nikki, the shells seemed to be a great way to get some vegetables into the kids, and have a dinner everyone would be excited about. This also makes about a ton of food, so plan on one 9 x 13 container that can feed 6 people, and another 8 x 8 container for the freezer or a neighbor. I now make these shells, happily, by request fairly regularly.
1 package jumbo shells
1 lb ground turkey breast (Yes you do want breast. Dark meat will overpower the filling)
½ yellow onion, minced (optional)
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 can artichoke hearts, finely ground
1 cup ground parmesan cheese, plus more for top
1 jar good marinara sauce
1 can diced tomatoes with chilis
1 ½ teaspoons oregano
sugar, about 1 Tablespoon, to taste
About 1 lb package shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil one gallon salted water, add shells and cook for about 8 mins. Drain and lay shells seam side up on baking sheets to cool. Meanwhile, brown the meat with onion and garlic. Set aside to cool. Pulse drained artichokes in food processor. Stir in parmesan and cooled turkey mixture. Heat pasta sauce with tomatoes, oregano and sugar, and allow to cool slightly. Fill shells with turkey mixture, and place seam side up in buttered baking dish. Cover in sauce, and top with shredded cheese and more parmesan.
Bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly and top is browned and crusty.
Roasted Broccoli, adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
1 ½ lb broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Cut broccoli into florets, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, or enough to coat and salt and pepper on baking sheet. Toss with hands. Bake about 15 minutes, until bright green, tender crisp, and slightly singed on the edges. Meantime, whisk remaining olive oil with fresh lemon juice. Pour over broccoli as it comes out of the oven. Salt and pepper to taste.