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Creamy Beef And Shells

Creamy Beef And Shells

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Indulge in the heartwarming delight of Creamy Beef and Shells! This 30-minute recipe blends tender pasta shells, savory ground beef, and a rich, cheesy sauce, infused with Italian herbs and garlic. A family-friendly dish that’s both satisfying and easy to make.

Growing up in a bustling household, dinner time was always a whirlwind of activity and laughter. My mom, a wizard in the kitchen, often juggled between our homework queries and her simmering pots. On particularly hectic evenings, she’d whip up her special Creamy Beef and Shells. It became our comfort food, the aroma of garlic and herbs mingling with stories of our day. Years later, as I stir the creamy sauce in my kitchen, memories flood back – of mom’s gentle laughter, the clinking of dishes, and the warmth of family gathered around the dinner table.

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Beef And Shells Recipe

  • Quick & Easy: Ready in just 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Kid-Friendly: Even picky eaters can’t resist its cheesy goodness.
  • Comforting Flavors: Rich, creamy, and packed with savory beef and Italian herbs.
  • Versatile: Easy to tweak with different ingredients for varied tastes.
  • All-In-One Meal: Combines protein, carbs, and dairy for a balanced dish.

Ingredients Notes:

The beauty of Creamy Beef and Shells lies in its simple yet flavorful ingredients.

  • Pasta Shells: Medium-sized for the perfect sauce-to-pasta ratio.
  • Ground Beef: Lean beef balances richness without being too heavy.
  • Sweet Onion & Garlic: For a fragrant, sweet-savory depth.
  • Italian Seasoning & Herbs: The blend of herbs elevates the dish with classic Italian flavors.
  • Flour & Beef Stock: Thickens the sauce, ensuring a velvety texture.
  • Marinara Sauce: Adds a tangy tomato base, complementing the creamy elements.
  • Heavy Cream & Sour Cream: They bring luxurious creaminess and a slight tang.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Freshly grated for a smooth melt and rich flavor.

How To Make This Creamy Beef And Shells

Creamy Beef and Shells is a symphony of textures and flavors, encapsulated in a straightforward cooking process.

  • Cook Pasta: Start by boiling the pasta shells until al dente. It’s crucial not to overcook them, as they’ll continue to cook in the sauce later.
  • Brown Beef: Cook the ground beef until it’s nicely browned, which builds a deep, meaty foundation for the dish.
  • Sauté Aromatics: The onion and garlic are sautéed just until fragrant, layering flavors without overpowering.
  • Build Sauce Base: Flour is whisked in for a minute, creating a roux that thickens the sauce beautifully.
  • Add Liquids: Gradually add beef stock, followed by marinara, ensuring a smooth, lump-free sauce.
  • Simmer & Season: Let the sauce simmer to thicken and infuse with the herbs, adjusting the seasoning as needed.
  • Combine Pasta & Beef: Adding back the pasta and beef blends all elements, ensuring every shell is coated in the savory sauce.
  • Finish with Dairy: Stir in the heavy cream, followed by sour cream for richness, then melt in the cheddar for that irresistible cheese pull.

Storage Options:

Creamy Beef and Shells is as versatile in storage as it is in flavor.

  • Refrigeration: In an airtight container, it keeps well for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze in portions for a quick future meal. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Reheating: Gently reheat on the stove or microwave, adding a splash of milk or water to loosen the sauce.

Variations and Substitutions:

  • Pasta Types: Swap out shells for penne, fusilli, or even macaroni.
  • Protein Variations: Ground turkey or chicken can replace beef for a lighter option.
  • Dairy Adjustments: Use light cream or a mix of cream cheese and milk for a less rich sauce.
  • Cheese Varieties: Experiment with mozzarella, gouda, or a blend for different cheese flavors.
  • Veggie Add-Ins: Spinach, bell peppers, or mushrooms can add a nutritious twist.
  • Gluten-Free: Opt for gluten-free pasta and flour for those with dietary restrictions.

Creamy Beef And Shells

Indulge in the heartwarming delight of Creamy Beef and Shells! This 30-minute recipe blends tender pasta shells, savory ground beef, and a rich, cheesy sauce, infused with Italian herbs and garlic. A family-friendly dish that's both satisfying and easy to make.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 8 ounces of medium pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 small sweet onion finely diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • 1 can 15 ounces of marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated cheddar cheese


  • Pasta Preparation: Commence by cooking the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Utilize a large pot of boiling salted water for this purpose. Once cooked, drain the pasta well and set it aside.
  • Cooking the Beef: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until it is thoroughly browned, which should take approximately 3-5 minutes. Make sure to break the beef apart with a wooden spoon during cooking. After the beef is cooked, drain any excess fat and set the beef aside.
  • Sautéing Onion and Garlic: In the same skillet used for the beef, add the diced onion. Cook for 2 minutes, ensuring that you stir frequently. Following the onions, add the minced garlic and continue to cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, which should take about 1 minute.
  • Creating the Roux: Add the flour to the skillet and whisk it for about 1 minute, until it is lightly browned. This step is crucial for thickening the sauce.
  • Adding Liquids and Seasonings: Gradually whisk in the beef stock into the skillet, ensuring that you stir well to combine the ingredients. Subsequently, add the marinara sauce to the mixture. Incorporate the Italian seasoning, dried parsley, oregano, and paprika by stirring them in.
  • Simmering the Sauce: Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened slightly. This should take approximately 6-8 minutes.
  • Combining Pasta and Beef: Add the previously cooked pasta to the skillet, along with the set-aside beef. Stir to ensure that the pasta and beef are well integrated with the sauce.
  • Incorporating Dairy: Stir in the heavy cream and continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is heated through. At this point, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Next, add the sour cream and stir.
  • Adding Cheese: Finally, fold in the grated cheddar cheese and continue to cook until the cheese is completely melted, which should take an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Serving: Serve the Creamy Beef and Shells immediately. Optionally, it can be garnished with parsley for an enhanced presentation.
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