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Simple ground beef pasta skillet in bowl.
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4.85 from 40 votes

Simple Beef Pasta Skillet

This Simple Beef and Shells skillet is a perfect ground beef pasta recipe the whole family will love! Ready in 30 minutes, this easy cheesy pasta dinner is packed with spinach, tomatoes and just the right amount of Italian Seasoning. Who wants seconds?
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 556kcal
Author: Lorie Yarro


  • 16 oz box of pasta shells*
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 c baby spinach
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or about 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  • ¾-1 c reserved pasta water


  • Cook pasta according to pasta directions. When draining, reserve about ¾ cup of the past water for later. Toss pasta with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. When glistening, add onion and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in ground beef and brown, stirring regularly. (about 7-9 minutes) Drain any excess oil. 
  • When beef is cooked, add in spinach, tomatoes, garlic, seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook until spinach is wilted and ingredients are combined. Turn heat to medium low and add in ½ cup reserved pasta water and parmesan. Stir to combine and simmer for several minutes to allow to thicken.
  • Add in pasta and toss to combine.
  • Add freshly shredded mozzarella and chopped parsley when serving if desired.


*I used salad shells as pictured above. If you use a smaller sized pasta, you will not want to use the entire box as it may be too much. You can start by adding ⅔ of the pasta and then adding more as desired.
  • Meal prepping tip: make your pasta ahead of time over the weekend. All you will have to do is stir it in when the rest has cooked up. That is one less thing you will need to worry about when making dinner.
  • As mentioned before, feel free to use another ground meat! Turkey, chicken, a meat free substitute.
  • Reserved pasta water--this is the secret behind so many pasta recipes. That starchy water does its magic on this pasta recipe and is a great ingredient to use when making pasta dishes.


Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1087IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 3mg