Turkey Pasta BakePosted by Kate O. on Jun 14, 2012 in freezable, recipes | 0 comments
First I decided I wanted to add spinach into the dish. It’s only been the last few years since I realized that I liked spinach and I’ve never cooked fresh spinach. So after a little research I decided to boil it for about 2 minutes in the water I was going to cook my pasta in, since I put a little salt in the water. It was a little bit of a challenge trying to get all of the cooked spinach out of the water but I managed to do pretty well.
It is not often that my local grocery store has the Italian seasoned ground turkey meat from Jennie-O, so when they do I always like to grab a pack and cook with it. In fact, that is what inspired this recipe.
Once the spinach was cooked, I threw the pasta into the boiling water. Then I got the turkey started in a skillet. I did not cook minced garlic first because I assumed the turkey meat had garlic as one seasoning and I had purchased garlic pasta sauce.
Once the meat was browned I poured in the pasta sauce. I know the original recipe calls for tomato puree, but I can never find that at my grocery store and just decided to go with pasta sauce because it is easy to find. I also threw in a bay leaf and sprinkled some basil, salt, pepper and sugar into the meat mixture. I mixed it all up and let it cook in the skillet for about 20 minutes.
When it was almost finished I drizzled a little olive oil over the pasta and then poured it into a large bowl. Next I spooned in the majority of the meat mixture. Instead of all 3 cups of ricotta as the original recipe called for I
substituted 1 cup of greek yogurt, so at this point I mixed the yogurt into my bowl. I cut up the spinach and mixed it in as well.
As you can see the yogurt mellowed out the red color of the pasta sauce. And the spinach makes it look pretty!
Next step is to spread the pasta in a lightly greased 9 x 12 baking dish. Then fold in the ricotta throughout the dish. Once the ricotta is mixed in add the remaining meat mixture on top of the pasta. Then cover it with mozzarella and parmesan.
However if you want to go ahead and cook it, you will want your oven at 400 degrees and cook for 40 minutes.
This is exactly what I did. And I have to say, my experiment worked! Fortunately this dish is big enough it will work for lunches for an entire week or a mixture of lunches and dinners.
I do think 40 minutes was a tad too long to cook it and I could have just gone with 30 minutes; regardless it still turned out delicious. Turkey pasta bake may not be the best name for this but that’s what I’ve got!