This Ultra Creamy Beef and Shells recipe is easy-to-make and can be on your table in 30 minutes. Pasta shells and lean ground beef tossed in a creamy, cheesy tomato sauce – making it the ultimate comfort food!
If you were ever a fan of Hamburger Helper as a kid, then you’re going to love this dish! It tastes like creamy lasagna pasta in a bowl!
ULTRA CREAMY BEEF AND SHELLS
Are you ready for the yummiest, creamiest and cheesiest pasta dish you will ever have? Then what are you waiting for? Scroll down, print this recipe off and head to the store for the ingredients. You are going to want to make this dish tonight! Not only will you love it, but your entire family (including the kiddos!) will love it.
This dish will soon become a requested dish in your home. You may even need double the batch for leftovers! Highly recommend. It is pure heaven in a bowl and my husband can attest to that. Shortly after my second of third round at perfecting the sauce, I knew I had a winner when my husband ate an entire bowl and even had seconds!
I’m not even sure I heard or saw him come up for air! I consider it a compliment when I serve a dish and there is silence followed by an empty plate or bowl. It means I hit a home run. That I perfected the dish.
And that is exactly what this Ultra Creamy Beef and Shells recipe is – perfection.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS DISH
Full recipe with directions can be found via the printable recipe card below. Scroll down! 🙂
- Lean ground beef
- Yellow (or white) onion
- Regular tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Unsalted beef stock
- Cream cheese & extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- Pasta shells
- Half and half
- Minced garlic
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning
- Olive oil
- Cornstarch (can substitute with flour or arrowroot – just use accordingly)
HELPFUL COOKING TIPS
- SAUCE: As noted in the recipe below, the sauce will need time to thicken and reduce by one-third. You will be able to note the amount of reduction in the sauce by the line of tomato sauce that forms along the edge of the pan.
– This recipe calls for (1) 15-ounce can of regular tomato sauce. You can also use any flavored tomato sauce, as well. If not using regular, plain tomato sauce, I would recommend using the seasonings listed within the recipe card sparingly and to taste.
- STOCK: All of my recipes will state either unsalted or low-sodium stock or broth. I prefer to be able to control the amount of sodium that goes into my dishes. If you use regular, salted stock or broth I recommend reducing the amount of salt added, adding to taste.
– You can also use vegetable stock or broth. Keep in mind, beef stock (or stock in general) will have more flavor than broth.
- BEEF: This recipe calls for lean ground beef. If you use a more fatty ground beef, I recommend draining a little of the grease that cooks out before adding any sauce or stock.
– Ground chicken or ground turkey can be used in replacement of beef for a leaner meat option. Or omit the meat completely for a meat-free meal!
- PASTA: You can use any pasta you have on hand for this recipe. I recommend shells, rotini, or any pasta that will hold sauce best. Think macaroni and cheese here!
– Don’t forget to salt the water prior to adding the pasta to boil. This will help prevent the pasta from sticking together when you drain it.
- CHEESES: I recommend using freshly grated cheddar cheese, as well as allowing the cream cheese to soften at room temperature before adding it to the sauce. Both will melt and blend a lot easier and quicker.
Have I convinced you yet? Give it a try and let me know what you think below in a comment! I love receiving your feedback on recipes whether its here or on Instagram!
MORE COMFORT DISHES YOU WILL LOVE
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Garlic Butter Shrimp with Asiago Risotto
- Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni
- Super Tender Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Lemon Garlic and Feta Pasta Salad
Ultra Creamy Beef and Shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce, (canned or jarred)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, (more or less - to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, (more or less - to taste)
- 2 cups unsalted beef stock
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 2 teaspoons of water, (mixed)
- 2 ounces cream cheese, (softened & cut into small cubes)
- 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1/2 cup half and half
- Freshly shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese
- Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and saute 3-4 minutes, or until they are translucent. Add in the minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Stir to mix. Saute 30 seconds, or untl fragrant.
- Add in the ground beef, breaking the meat apart as it cooks. Cook until the beef has browned and is no longer pink, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- While the beef is cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
- Raise the temperature of the skillet to medium-high. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper and beef stock. Stir well and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce to a simmer for 6-7 minutes.
- To a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Stir until mixed well. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and stir well. Allow to sauce to thicken.You will note a reduction in the sauce by a sauce line that forms along the edges of the pan. Run a spatula or spoon along the edges and back into the sauce.
- Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted, followed by the cheddar cheese.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Pour in the half and half, stirring to full combine. Cook 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Serve garnished with parmesan or cheddar cheese (optional).