Thursday, August 27, 2009

Turkey, Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

As a child every year my parents would have their annual tree viewing Christmas party. The menu for many years was basically the same and always contained traditional stuffed shells. Not being an adult I waited until after the party for leftovers. It always seemed that we would be eating stuffed shells for weeks after the party. It could have been my imagination or the fact that for Easter or Thanksgiving we might also have stuffed shells for the pasta course, but either way I dreaded eating the stuffed shells. They just seemed so boring to me! For some reason I had 3/4 of a box of jumbo shells leftover from some recipe I don't remember, which I found looking for food to clean out of the cabinet. Along with the leftover components from the enchiladas, I decided to create my own recipe for something a little more interesting.

Turkey, Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

3/4 box jumbo shells, cooked according to package
1/2 lb. ground turkey (I browned it with part of a red onion and 1 clove garlic for previous recipe)
(1/4 red onion, chopped)
(1 clove garlic, chopped)
1/2 pack frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 pack cremini mushrooms (I used pre-sliced to cut down on prep)
1 clove garlic, crushed/chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 egg
2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 small container part skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
oregano and basil (dried)
Parmesan cheese
1 jar sauce (I used Paul Sorvino's Vodka sauce but homemade would be even better)

1. Finely chop mushrooms. Saute in melted butter with garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Towards the end of cooking add sugar and vinegar. Mushrooms should be completely cooked and soft. Set aside.

2. If you haven't already, brown the turkey with garlic and a quarter of a red onion chopped.

3. To make the filling: Combine turkey, spinach and mushrooms. Then add the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with approx. 1/2 tbsp dried oregano, and basil or more or less if you like. Once it is incorporated add the egg. If it seems wet enough you can omit the egg.

4. Spread casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce. Fill shells with approx. 2 tbsp of filling or whatever fits the best for you. Place in casserole dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella.
(this is what it will look like)

5. Bake according to directions (most boxes say to cover but I did not). Here is the final product. We warmed up some extra sauce to top them.

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