This is pure cheesy comfort food! Perfectly cooked pasta shells nestled in a creamy, cheesy beefy sauce that will have your family asking for seconds! Thanks to the Instant Pot, this homemade meal is done in minutes which makes it perfect for any night of the week!
Growing up we never had the boxed version of this stuff. We almost never had boxed or canned items. Mom just made everything from scratch. However, this was something Mr. Fantabulous loved when he was a bachelor. It was easy and didn’t really require much effort.
I did try it once when he made it and yeah… I started making this from scratch for him. This is way better, the flavors are incredible and you can control what all goes into it. Mixing up the types of pasta, meats, or cheeses was huge for him AND it’s way healthier.
Plus did I mention that this is absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS? The first time he tasted it the look of “oh my god!!! This is what it’s supposed to taste like???” on his face was epic. Since then he’s told me to never buy the boxed stuff again.
Trust me – try it once and you’ll understand why he’s been loving this for decades. The only change I made to my original recipes – I now make it in the Instant Pot as it’s even easier!
Grab Your Ingredients
This recipe uses pretty standard pantry and fridge ingredients.
- Pasta Shells
- Beef Stock and Worcestershire
- Tomato Paste – this adds depth of flavor without giving it that ‘tomato’ taste
- Dairy – lots of cheese, heavy cream, and butter
- Ground Beef (though you could use ground turkey or chicken)
Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid, 13-in-1
I just got this new Instant Pot and folks it’s THE BEST ONE I’ve EVER owned! It’s by far superior to the older models I have!
- 13-in-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Air Fryer, Pressure Cooker, Sauté, Slow Cook, Steam, Warm, Roast, Bake, Broil, Dehydrate, Yogurt, Sous Vide, and Bread Proofing
- And it AIR FRIES: The best part… You no longer need 2 separate lids!
Let’s Make Dinner!
Brown & Season The Beef
This seriously is so simple! On this new Instant Pot Duo Crisp, you can choose up to 6 different saute levels! Initially, I went with Level 1 but after making this about 10 more times I found that Level 5 or 6 worked the best/fastest for browning meats.
- Set the until to Saute. This unit will preheat and will tell you to Add Food when it’s ready to start sauteing.
- Add the meat, 1 cup of water, and half of the seasonings. The water helps keep the meat tender and helps it break down a bit.
- Brown the meat, breaking it up as it cooks into nugget-sized pieces. Be sure to scrape the bottom as well.
- When the meat is browned, strain the fat out and discard.
- Once the ground beef is drained, pour it back into the unit and the butter.
- In a bowl, whisk together the beef stock and Worcestershire. Pour that over top of the meat.
- To add depth of flavor, add in tomato paste and then stir the mixture all together.
Add The Shells But Do Not Stir
- To the liquid, pour in the shells, and with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon, gently press the pasta into the liquid to submerge it as much as possible. Do NOT stir it in.
- Close and lock the lid.
Chef’s Tip About Not Stirring In Pasta
When you add pasta/noodles to an Instant Pot you do not want to stir them into the liquid. You just want to press them into the liquid to submerge them as much as possible. It’s OK if they don’t all submerge though.
By not stirring them you’re helping to prevent the pasta or noodles from sticking.
- Close and lock the lid. Set it to Pressure Cook, the time to 5 minutes, and Steam Release to Quick Release. Press start and let the Instant Pot Duo Crisp work its magic.
- Since the unit is already hot, it shouldn’t take long for it to build up pressure and start to cook.
This new unit shows you exactly where the meal is in the cooking process From Preheating to Cooking to performing the Quick Release.
And y’all, it’s SUPER quiet as it builds up pressure and releases pressure. No more loud hisses!
This is where it gets fun or cheesy if you will.
- Give the pasta a quick stir then add in the heavy cream and the shredded cheese.
- Slowly stir to incorporate the cream and the cheese. The heat from the meat and shells will melt the cheese while the cream will make it so luscious.
I don’t know about you but I’m hungry. I’m so loving how these pictures turned out! So vivid, detailed, and mouthwatering!
What To Serve With This Dish
I’m a carb-lover so warm crusty bread is always a given. I’d go with a light appetizer and something luscious and decadent for dessert
Over the years I’ve made a bajillion different varieties of this dish.
- Meat – ground turkey and chicken work well with this dish
- Cheese – Pepperjack, mozzarella, fontina, asiago – pretty any cheese that melts works in this dish
- Spices – this is where you can really get creative. Go with a Tex-Mex spice mix, Chili-style seasoning. You can also go with buffalo and ranch powder for a buffalo chicken option
The Perfect Meal
This meal is so comforting and homey. It’s great as a make-ahead meal for weekly meal prep. As for freezing it, I would not. Pasta can sometimes turn mushy when it’s frozen and then reheated.
When I’m hosting folks for a football game, this is a great meal to throw together and feed a crowd too!Print
- 1 lb 90/10 ground beef
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 8 ounces tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 pound pasta shells, small
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, must use freshly shredded
- Set your Instant Pot Duo Crisp unit to Sauté, Level 5 (or you can use 1 if you want it to sauté slower). In a small bowl, mix together all of your dried seasonings. Once it says to “add food” add the ground beef half of the seasoning mixture and water. Using a wooden spoon or heat-safe spatula, break up the meat into small bits. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom too. Sauté until the meat is all browned. Shut the Instant Pot off, remove the pan and drain the grease from the meat.
- Place the meat back into the pan followed by the rest of the seasonings and the butter. Whisk together the stock and Worcestershire then pour that over top. Add in the tomato paste and give the mixture a quick stir.
- Dump the pasta shells in and using the back of a spatula, press the pasta into the liquid as much as possible. Do not stir it in. It’s OK if it’s not all submerged.
- Close and lock the lid. Press the Pressure Cook button, set the time to 5 minutes, and, if your unit has it, set the Steam Release for Quick Release. This unit will do all of the work, including the quick release. If yours does not, when the 5 minutes is up, safely perform a quick release.
- Unlock the lid, and give the mixture a stir. Pour in the cream, stir, and then the cheese. Stir until the mixture is fully coated in a creamy, cheesy mixture.
- Plate and enjoy. Store the leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*Cooking time does not include pressure-building time.
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