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Turkey & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • 35 m
  • 1 h 30 m
Lauren Grant
“This crowd-pleasing, make-ahead pasta dish uses lean ground turkey instead of ground beef and sneaks in zucchini, which helps you eat more vegetables and helps keep the filling moist. Assemble the shells and then freeze to bake off on a busy day for easy, healthy meal prep at its best.”

Ingredients

    • 18 jumbo pasta shells
    • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups diced zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • ½ pound lean ground turkey
    • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
    • 2 cups no-sugar-added marinara sauce, divided
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)

Directions

  • 1 Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 2 Cook shells in a pot of boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a plate.
  • 3 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 4 Whisk ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, fennel seed, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the turkey mixture and mix well.
  • 5 Spread 1 cup marinara in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each shell; arrange in the baking dish, seam-side up. Top the filled shells with the remaining 1 cup sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
  • 6 Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the marinara is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Let the shells rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil, if desired, and serve.
  • To make ahead: Prepare through Step 5. Wrap baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Remove plastic wrap and bake frozen shells, covered, until marinara is bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Or, thaw shells in refrigerator overnight and bake as directed in Step 6.
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