Rich beef bolognese cooked together with pasta shells and finished with cream and cheese. I love how those little shells hold the sauce!
All cooked in one pan, this simple dinner is ready in 30 minutes!
Spag Bol - the classic dinner that I make all the time.
I've made a few adjustments to my go-to recipe to turn it into a one pan dish that can be cooked up with pasta shells (or your favourite pasta shape).
All it takes is the addition of some stock. You need enough to cook the pasta, but not so much that the sauce ends up too runny after the pasta has absorbed the liquid it needs.
I'm also adding in cream and cheddar cheese to make it lusciously creamy and extra tasty.
📋 What do we need?
- Pasta - I'm using pasta shells but this would work just as well with spiralli, rigatoni, or other pasta, whatever you've got in your cupboard.
- Minced beef - personally I usually go for 10-20% fat, at the fat keeps the beef moist and makes it more flavourful. You can go with low-fat beef if you prefer to use it though.
- Tinned tomatoes - I like to go with finely chopped tinned tomatoes as using them results in a thicker sauce without the big chunks of tomato. Regular tinned tomatoes will work fine too.
- Stock - you can use homemade stock or 2 stock cubes mixed with water.
- Cheese and cream - yep, I like to creamy, cheesy dishes. If you don't like to add lots of cream and cheese, you can leave it out or use less (no need to adjust the quantities of anything else).
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe, with detailed steps, in the recipe card at the end of this post.
👩🍳PRO TIP Be sure to keep an eye on the pasta and give it a stir every so often. You want to ensure the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan as it absorbs the excess liquid.
Look at those shells! Like little edible cupfuls of bolognese 😋
Top with a sprinkling of chopped chives, a grind of black pepper and a little grated parmesan. I like to add a few chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) too, for a little kick.
🍲 More fantastic creamy pasta recipes
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One Pot Creamy Bolognese Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion - peeled and finely diced
- 1 carrot - peeled and finely diced
- 1 stick celery - finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper - chopped into small chunks
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 450 g (1 lb) minced beef
- 3 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) beef stock - (water + 2 stock cubes is fine)
- 120 ml (½ cup) milk - half fat or full fat
- 800 g (28 oz) tinned finely chopped tomatoes - (2x 400g(14oz) tins)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 300 g (10 ½ oz) pasta shells
- 120 ml (½ cup) double (heavy) cream
- 100 g (1 packed cup) grated cheddar
- Small bunch chives - chopped
- Chilli flakes
- grated parmesan
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion softens.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the minced beef and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned. Stir often, breaking up any large chunks of meat with a spatula.
- Add the tomato puree, oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, milk, tinned tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir together and bring to the boil.
- Stir in the pasta shells, bring back to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 17-22 minutes, stirring a couple of times during cooking, until the pasta is cooked through.
- Remove the lid, then stir in the cream and cheese, until the cheese melts
- Serve topped with chopped chives, chilli flakes and grated parmesan.
Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as per the 'make ahead' instructions above. Ingredient swaps/additions
- Swap out the beef mince for pork or turkey mince
- Swap out the pasta shells other pasta shapes such as rigatoni or spirals
- Add in extra veggies - such as chopped courgette or mushrooms (add at the same at the tinned tomatoes), or you could stir in baby spinach for the last minute of cooking.
The cooking time will be the same. Alternative to cream You can leave out the cream entirely if you wish. You can add an extra splash of water or stock to loosen up the sauce if you like.
Alternatively, you can add a couple of spoonfuls of creme fraiche or 4 tbsp (¼ cup) coconut milk. Nutritional information is approximate, per serving, based on this recipe making 6 servings. Nutritional information does not include toppings.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.