This isn’t your normal mac & cheese: Check out this recipe for Italian Basil Beef and Shells

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MILWAUKEE -- This isn't your normal mac & cheese. Angela Horkan from the Wisconsin Beef Council joins FOX6 WakeUp to make Italian Basil Beef and Shells.

Italian Basil Beef and Shells


  • 1-1/2 pounds lean Ground Beef
  • 1 (16 oz) box medium-size shells
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (8 oz) chive and onion cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups half & half
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (6 oz.) prepared basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook the pasta shells in salted water per the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.

In a large pot over medium-high heat cook the diced onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 2 minutes until softened. Add the ground beef, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce. Brown the beef 8-10 minutes, until browned. Drain any excess fat, if needed.

Add the cream cheese, half & half and butter to the pot. Stir well, until the cream cheese has completely melted.

Remove from heat and add 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, pesto, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and cooked pasta. Mix well.

Pour 1/2 of the mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining mixture and last 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Check at 30 minutes and cover with foil, if needed.
Rest on the counter for 5 minutes then garnish with chopped parsley just before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen.