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+ servings
Creamy Beef and Shells with fresh parsley sprinkled on top.
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5 from 12 ratings

Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy Beef and Shells is an easy ground beef recipe with shell pasta smothered in a creamy and flavorful tomato sauce.


  • 1 lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 small diced yellow onion, can sub 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, can sub ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons flour, optional-helps thicken the sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cups half and half
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ pound medium shell pasta
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving.


  • Shred the cheese and measure out all ingredients prior to beginning. Begin heating the pasta water for boiling.
  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat. Add onions halfway through and cook until softened. Drain any grease.
  • Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 tsp hot sauce, 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp mustard powder, 1 pinch of red pepper flakes, and 3 TBS flour. Cook for one minute.
  • Add the beef broth and use a silicone spatula to ‘clean’ the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and softened cream cheese. Let the sauce simmer while you boil the shells for 7-8 minutes or as instructed on package. (Optional, add a few teaspoons of kosher salt to the boiling water.)
  • Decrease heat to low. Stir in the half and half. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the shredded cheese until well-combined.
  • Add the drained pasta shells and stir to combine. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with garlic bread with cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Shred the cheese from a block. It will melt (and taste!) much better than bagged shredded cheese, which contains cellulose to prevent it from clumping in the bag (but also makes it melt less creamy.) I use Cracker Barrel sharp yellow cheddar.

The hot sauce enhances all of the other flavors in the dish. It won’t make it spicy. I use Texas Pete hot sauce.

If you don’t have mustard powder or tomato paste, they can be omitted, but they do add subtle but excellent flavor to the sauce. The tomato paste also helps to thicken the sauce.

A variety of different pastas will work in this recipe, including rotini, farfalle (bowtie), and fusilli.


Calories: 543kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 43g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 1282mg, Potassium: 1051mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1154IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 399mg, Iron: 6mg