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Creamy Beef and Shells: A Comforting One-Pot Dinner

With tender ground beef and hearty shells, this creamy beef and shells recipe is a delicious twist on a classic comfort food dish. This dish is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a quick and satisfying weeknight meal. Its rich flavors and creamy texture make it an instant favorite that’s sure to please everyone at the table.


Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 12 ounces medium pasta shells, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed to room temperature
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish
  • Chopped fresh thyme or parsley for garnish


Step 1: Brown the Beef

  1. Cook the Beef and Onions: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef. When the ground beef is about halfway browned, add the chopped onion. Continue cooking until the beef is fully browned and the onion is soft.
  2. Add Seasonings: Reduce the heat to low and add the minced garlic and dried Italian seasoning. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to release the flavors.

Step 2: Simmer with Sauce and Pasta

  1. Add Liquids and Pasta: Pour in the tomato sauce and beef broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the uncooked pasta shells, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is tender, about 15-18 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a bit more beef broth if needed to keep the pasta submerged.
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Step 3: Finish with Cream

  1. Add Cream: Once the pasta is tender, remove the skillet from heat and stir in the heavy cream. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley or thyme. Serve hot and enjoy!


  • Meat Variations: This recipe is versatile and can be made with ground pork, turkey, chicken, or even sausage (pork sausage or Italian sausage).
  • Pasta Options: Any medium pasta works well, such as rotini, rigatoni, ziti, cavatappi, mostaccioli, or penne.
  • Cheese Additions: For extra cheesiness, stir in shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, cubed cream cheese, or pepper jack until melted.
  • Creaminess Tip: Make sure the heavy cream is at room temperature before adding it to the hot pasta to prevent curdling.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 446 kcal
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 5g


This creamy beef and shells recipe is a heartwarming meal that brings comfort and joy to the dining table. Its rich, savory flavors and creamy texture make it a standout dish that’s easy to prepare and perfect for any night of the week. Enjoy the process of making this delicious dish and savor each bite!