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+ servings
ground turkey pasta
4.81 from 51 votes

Ground Turkey Shells

Wondering what to make with ground turkey? Make this simple, yet elevated ground turkey pasta recipe! It's made with a meaty red sauce, a hint of cream, and tons of parmesan cheese.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 35 minutes
Fat 25
Carbs 60
Protein 42
Yield 4


  • 8 oz. medium dried pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt separated
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (we used 93% lean, 7% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons homemade Italian seasoning
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup starchy pasta water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley


  • Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Before straining the pasta, set aside 1 cup of starchy pasta water. Strain the pasta. Rinse the pasta with cold water and set aside for later.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil. When the olive oil is fragrant, add the onion to the pan and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  • Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic to the pan. Toss with the onion and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • When the garlic is fragrant add the ground turkey to the pan and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Break the ground turkey up into small pieces and cook the turkey until it is almost cooked but has bits of pink still left.
  • Add the tomato sauce and ½ cup of the starchy pasta water to the pan and stir to combine.
  • Next, add the tomato paste and anchovy paste to the pan and whisk the two ingredients into the tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to low and allow the tomato sauce to simmer and continue to cook the ground turkey (about 4-6 minutes).
  • Taste the sauce and add ¼ teaspoon more of salt to the sauce. If you desire more salt, add ¼ teaspoon more at a time until you’re satisfied.
  • While the sauce is still on a low simmer, slowly add in the heavy cream, while constantly stirring the tomato sauce until combined.
  • Finally, fold the pasta into the tomato sauce. Let the noodles heat up in the sauce.
  • Top with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley and enjoy.

Tips & Notes

  • The Italian seasoning we make and use in this recipe includes salt and garlic. If you are using a store-bought Italian seasoning you may need to add more salt or garlic to the sauce.
  • You can use whatever dried pasta you would like! Be sure you thoroughly whisk the tomato paste and anchovy paste into the sauce and then bring the sauce to a simmer. This is important to really cook down the ingredients.
  • Feel free to add more parmesan to this dish if desired.

Watch it

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 25g | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g