An easy and delicious Creamy Beef and Shells recipe. This hearty comfort food is loaded with flavor, cheesy sauce and mushrooms. I will show you how to make it into a quick weeknight dinner!
Ditch packaged pasta meals, boxed beef dishes as well as hamburger helpers in favor of this quick and hearty homemade beef and shells recipe! Replace them with this easy and very flexible recipe along with our amazing Ricotta Stuffed Shells.
Ingredients for Creamy Beef and Shells
Pasta shells. I highly recommend using medium pasta shells as they add the perfect texture and nuance to creamy beef and shells dish.
Ground beef. I used lean ground beef in order to avoid too much saturated fat. If you buy regular ground beef, you can always drain the fat after cooking it. Just keep in mind that by draining cooking fat, you will also be getting rid of lots of juiciness.
Seasonings. You will need salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. That’s it! I used Sicilian seasoning in my recipe.
Creamy sauce. The ingredient list for the creamy beef and shells sauce consists of reduced chicken stock, marinara sauce and heavy cream. I bought tomato basil pasta sauce in a glass container and it was amazingly delicious in this recipe.
Olive oil and butter. I cooked with both olive oil and butter, but you can certainly choose either one of them as well and adjust accordingly.
Veggies. I love chopped onion and garlic as a base for any sauce and adding spinach and mushrooms made our beef and shells even more tantalizing to our taste buds.
What can I use instead of ground beef?
Ground turkey is perfect substitute if you are avoiding red meat. You can buy really lean turkey and cook it to perfection!
Ground chicken is another one of my favorites to make these creamy shells. Just like the turkey, the color of the dish will be lighter than what is pictured but the flavor and texture will remain outstanding.
What can i use instead of Marinara sauce?
What is Marinara? Marinara is a simple blend of tomatoes, onions and garlic. It can come in a can, or usually, in a glass jar. A pasta sauce glass jar.
I used Tomato Basil pasta sauce that had additional seasonings and herbs such as basil, oregano, red pepper flakes. You can also use Basil Garlic and even spicy Arrabbiata sauce.
All in all, use any pasta sauce (the one sold in a glass jar) of your choosing or whatever you have in the pantry.
Can I use more sauce?
Quantity wise, you can add more depending on your personal preference. You can even double up on the pasta sauce!
Refrigerate! Refrigerate creamy past and shells up to 4 days in order to avoid the recipe getting too watery and losing its texture.
Freeze. Freeze the shells up to 1 month (but do not add heavy cream if preparing for the freezer).
We have lots of other pasta recipes to choose from
Creamy Beef and Shells with Spinach and Mushrooms
- 1 Large cast iron skillet (12 inch deep skillet or dutch oven)
- 1 Large saucepan (for cooking pasta)
- 2 spatulas
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- 10 ounces medium pasta shells
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1.5 lb ground beef
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat water in a large saucepan, add salt (to your taste), pasta shells and cook al dente, when the shells are softer but not completely soft. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high until butter is melted. Add sliced onions and cook until translucent and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and add garlic with mushrooms and cook for additional 5 minutes. Remove onions, garlic and mushrooms onto a plate in order to cook beef in the same pan.
- Add ground beef and cook, turning the beef and breaking it apart, until no longer pink. Season slightly with salt. Now add chicken stock and cook on semi-high heat in order to reduce the stock by about half.
- Next add heavy cream and marinara sauce next and bring to a gentle boil. Add spinach leaves into the beef marinara sauce and allow them to melt. Return onions, garlic, mushrooms to the pan and mix them well to incorporate into the sauce.
- Add shredded Cheddar cheese into the sauce and allow it to melt.
- Serve hot.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. This information comes from online calculators. Although whatsinthepan.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.