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Orecchiette Pasta Bake

  • Yield: 8 1x

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon for browning the turkey)
  • 2 bell peppers (diced (I used orange and yellow))
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (plus 1/2 teaspoon for ground turkey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons basil (chopped)
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 3 cups spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish and set aside. Prepare a large pot of water for the pasta and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add peppers and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes until they begin to soften. Add garlic and cook another minute.
  2. To the onion and peppers mixture, add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer on low for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the ground turkey.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan and add ground turkey. Brown the meat with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Once turkey is no longer pink, add it to the sauce with the chopped basil and let it simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
  4. Add a large pinch of salt to the boiling pasta water and add the pasta. Cook according to package. This happens while the sauce is simmering.
  5. Once pasta is cooked, drain it and return cooked pasta to the empty pasta pot . Add both cheeses to the hot pasta and stir to coat. Add the turkey sauce mixture to the pasta and stir. Add spinach and stir until spinach wilts.
  6. Pour into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with extra cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.