Creamy Beef and Shells is a delicious family-friendly meal that’s sure to be a hit! Everyone will love the creamy, cheesy sauce with ground beef and your favorite pasta shells. Plus, this dish can easily be prepared in under 30 minutes – perfect for busy weeknights or when you want an easy but tasty meal.
Table of Contents
- Easy Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe
- Why We Love Beef And Shells Pasta
- Creamy Beef And Shells Ingredients
- Substitutions And Additions
- Recommended Tools
- How to Make Creamy Beef and Shells
- Pro Tips For Making Creamy Beef And Shells
- How To Store Creamy Beef And Shells
- What To Serve with Creamy Beef And Shells
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe
Easy Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe
Our easy Creamy Beef and Shells recipe makes a cheesy, meaty, hearty meal that is ready in 30 minutes. A super simple weeknight supper!
Packed with seasoned ground beef, tender pasta, creamy tomato sauce, and plenty of cheese, this one-pan dinner is so delicious that even the pickiest people will devour it!
Our recipe puts a healthier spin on the popular packaged box of pasta and powdered seasoning; it’s like a homemade hamburger helper made with fresh ingredients that you can pronounce!
This easy ground beef recipe comes together quickly and can be on the table in no time – simply brown your beef, simmer your seasonings, flour, beef broth in tomato sauce, then mix the pasta, meat, cream, sauce, and cheese together to make the most delicious meal.
When comfort food and convenience are paired together in one pan, you’ve created the best flavor combination of a cheesy beef pasta!
Why We Love Beef And Shells Pasta
- Quick and easy to make in 30 minutes.
- Uses simple kitchen staple ingredients. Add fresh veggies to bulk it up!
- Everything cooks in a single skillet, so cleanup is fast.
- It’s like eating cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese merged into one meal.
- Perfect family-friendly dinner idea that’s delicious.
Creamy Beef And Shells Ingredients
- Medium pasta shells
- Olive oil
- Ground beef: I like to use lean ground beef or Piedmontese beef for this recipe.
- Italian seasoning
- Mustard powder
- Beef stock
- Tomato sauce
- Heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- Extra sharp cheddar cheese
Substitutions And Additions
- More Meat Options: Feel free to make a lighter version of this dish by using ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork in place of ground beef.
- Pick Your Pasta: I used medium pasta shells in this recipe because it’s the perfect shape for housing the beefy mixture, but penne, elbow macaroni, rotini, farfalle, and fusilli will work as well.
- Choose Your Cheese: I love using extra sharp cheddar cheese in this pasta dish, but you can use another cheese, like mozzarella, Mexican cheese blend, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, or any other cheese that melts well.
- Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian pasta recipe, add in vegetarian crumbles or simply omit the meat altogether! The sauce is delicious without the meat and you can use a vegetarian stock to replace the beef stock.
- Add Veggies For Vitamins: Make this a complete meal by adding in some vegetables for a boost of vitamins. I love broccoli, asparagus, and peppers, but any of your favorites will work perfectly.
- Go Gluten Free: To make this a gluten free dish, use gluten-free flour and gluten-free pasta.
- Large pot
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
How to Make Creamy Beef and Shells
- Prepare The Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain well.
- Brown The Beef: In a large skillet add olive oil and the ground beef and cook until browned, drain, and set aside.
- Simmer The Sauce: Cook the onion until translucent, then stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika and mustard powder. Cook for 1 minute, whisk in flour until lightly browned, and then whisk in beef stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, until reduced and slightly thickened.
- Combine: Stir in pasta, beef, and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper and stir in cheese until melted. (Optional – top with parmesan cheese)
- Serve: Serve hot and enjoy!
Pro Tips For Making Creamy Beef And Shells
- To prevent the pasta from becoming soggy, I like to cook it just al dente. That way when you combine it with the sauce, further cooking won’t make it too mushy.
- Use a block of cheese that you grate by hand so that it melts smoothly into the sauce. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it and doesn’t melt quite as well as freshly shredded cheese.
How To Store Creamy Beef And Shells
- To Store: Cool and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: To freeze, let the pasta cool to room temperature and then store it in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. You can freeze the sauce separately for up to 6 months.
- To Reheat: Reheat on the stovetop until warmed through.
What To Serve with Creamy Beef And Shells
This creamy beef and shells dish pairs perfectly with a side salad or a steamed veggie. To make this a complete meal, serve you dinner with my Olive Garden Salad, Broccoli Slaw, Cauliflower Breadsticks, or some garlic bread.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
Creamy Beef and Shells
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 15-ounce jar tomato sauce
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese about 1 ½ cups
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain well
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, about 3-5 minutes, crumbling the ground beef. Drain excess fat and set aside
- Add onion to the skillet, cook stirring frequently until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika and mustard powder, cook about 1 minute
- Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute
- Gradually whisk in beef stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
- Stir in pasta, beef and heavy cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in cheese until melted.
Originally posted 9/6/19