Thursday, June 30, 2011

2 Night Meal

Confession time: I love leftovers. They make my life so much easier, and often times, the food tastes as good or even better (hello, chili), the next day. Plus, when you make something really tasty, why would you only want to enjoy it once?

I will let you in on another little secret: I don't enjoy cooking when I have to do it, and that's what it feels like when I need to prepare a different meal every night; but I do enjoy and look forward to cooking when it is not a daily chore. That said, I love recipes that can get us through two meals or more. And this one, from Giada (the hubby's fav Food Network host), is sensational for leftovers.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (beef will work well too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, or one can/bottle (approximately 14 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts 
  • 1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • Grated mozzarella to taste
Here's how you put it together:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, and drain. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onions and garlic, cooking until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and continue to cook until turkey is brown. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooled turkey mixture, ricotta, eggs, basil, parsley, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine. 

  • To stuff shells, cover the bottom of a lasagna dish with 1 cup of Arrabiata sauce (recipe to follow). Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of the turkey mixture. Place stuff shells (12-14) in the lasagna dish.
  • Drizzle the leftover sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella to your preference.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. (Note: This recipe will freeze for up to a month. If freezing, cook at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until the shells are cooked through.
Now for some doctored Arrabiata Sauce...
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. of panchetta (optional but yummy)
  • 5 cups jarred marinara sauce
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. (I use the same skillet I used to brown the turkey just to cut down on dishes and reuse some of the flavors from the filling.) Add the panchetta, if using, and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the sauce and crushed red pepper and bring to a simmer. 

Note: You could definitely definitely just use straight out of a jar sauce, but I like to use the arrabbiata sauce when making this dish with turkey, as turkey can be rather bland, and this doctored sauce adds some flavor and spice to the dish. 

What make ahead or leftover dishes are your go-to dishes? Let me know so I can file them away for the school year!

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