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Nostalgia, flavor, and ease all in one pot! I know you will all love this One-Pot Italian Shells and Cheese!
The one-pot pastas on my site are some of my most popular, weeknight recipes. And for good reason! Especially when school starts back up and calendars start to fill, it’s nice to have an option you can get on the table in less than 45 minutes.
This particular recipes is a riff on Hamburger Helper’s “Italian Shells & Cheese” and the classic Hamburger Helper I developed a few years ago. This time, I added Italian sausage, cheddar, and ricotta for an extra creamy twist. I’m sure your family will love this take on the classic, All-American go-to.
step one: brown the sausage
To kick this recipe off, in your large pot saute the garlic and onions. Next, add the mild (or hot) Italian sausage and cook until nicely browned.
step two: season the sausage
Italian sausage already has great flavor, but there is a lot of pasta and sauce in this dish so I like to add more seasonings to make sure there is flavor packed in ever bite. Once your seasonings are added and lightly toasted, you will continue to get the sauce started with tomato paste.
step three: create sauce and begin cooking the pasta
Next, you’ll add the red wine vinegar, beef broth, tomato sauce, and pasta to the pot. You may be thinking, “Red wine vinegar? Huh?” But, the vinegar just helps to bring a brightness to the dish and amplify the flavors. Just trust me! Once your ingredients are combined, follow the steps below until the pasta is cooked just right.
step four: remove from heat and add the final ingredients!
Now that the pasta is cooked, remove from heat and mix in the ricotta and cheddar cheese. The pasta will be hot enough to melt the cheeses, but if needed, you can put it over low heat. Once combined, taste and adjust the salt to our preference then garnish with more cheddar cheese and parsley.
I can’t wait to hear what you think about this One-Pot Italian Shells and Cheese — I know y’all will enjoy it.
Looking for another classic you and your kiddos will love? Be sure to try my One-Pot “Yummy Pasta!”
One-Pot Italian Shells and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely-diced yellow onion about 1 small onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage sub spicy if preferred
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- One 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce
- 12 ounces dried shells pasta I use Jovial Brown Rice for gluten-free
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta at room temperature *see note
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for serving
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat a large, deep-sided skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add in sausage and sauté, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, until the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Drain off excess fat if necessary (I like to keep at least 2 tablespoons in there for added flavor) and return to the pan.
- To the meat, season with salt, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine and cook over medium-high for about 2 minutes, allowing the spices to lightly toast. Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking for an additional 1 minute, or until the paste has totally melted in and combined with the meat.
- Pour in the red wine vinegar, beef broth, tomato sauce, and pasta. Stir to combine. Bring contents in the pot to a boil and once boiling, reduce the heat to a very subtle simmer, and let cook until pasta is tender, stirring often, until most of the liquid has absorbed and the pasta is al dente, 13 to 15 minutes.
- Once the pasta is cooked, remove skillet from heat and stir in the ricotta and cheddar cheese until combined and melted. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley and extra cheddar. Enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Photography by Eat Love Eats.