Pasta Shells with Ground Beef

Pasta Shells with Ground Beef Recipe

Pasta shells with ground beef is a hearty, comforting dish that’s easy to prepare and perfect for weeknight dinners. This recipe combines tender pasta shells with a flavorful ground beef sauce, topped with melted cheese for a delicious finish.

Ingredients

For the Pasta and Beef Sauce:

  • 12 oz pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)

For the Cheese Topping:

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  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Cook the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the pasta shells and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare the Beef Sauce:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat if necessary.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic to the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  • Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

3. Combine Pasta and Sauce:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Add the cooked pasta shells to the skillet with the beef sauce, and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
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4. Bake the Dish:

  • Transfer the pasta and beef mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

5. Garnish and Serve:

  • Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  • Serve hot, with a side of garlic bread or a fresh salad.

Tips for Perfect Pasta Shells with Ground Beef

  1. Pasta Choice: While shells work great for this recipe, you can substitute with other pasta shapes like penne, rigatoni, or ziti.
  2. Cheese Variations: Feel free to mix in different cheeses such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend of Italian cheeses for added flavor.
  3. Vegetable Add-Ins: Enhance the nutritional value by adding vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach to the beef sauce.
  4. Make Ahead: This dish can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake. Just add an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time if baking straight from the fridge.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Enjoy this comforting and delicious pasta shells with ground beef dish as a satisfying meal that the whole family will love!

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