Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

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If you’re looking for the easiest Valentine’s Day dinner idea, look no further! This recipe for Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce is literally perfection.

Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce from (@whatsgabycookin)

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I’m all in. The next few days are going to be filled with some fun dessert ideas, a complete dinner menu for two and a Galentine’s Day menu if you’re celebrating with your lady friends! Basically we’re 100% covered. But before we get to all of that, I wanted to share these Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce that are legit the easiest thing you could make. SO… if you’re new to cooking, or if you want to pass these off to your bf/gf/husband/wife etc (who maybe isn’t totally comfortable in the kitchen yet) these will literally make anyone look like a champ! I’m 100% confident my husband could make these and THAT is saying a lot!

So, have at it! Skip the crazy prix fixed menus this year and cook at home and grab a bottle of something special to share (I’m partial to a bottle of pink bubbly!) It’s the right thing to do! All you need to make this a complete meal is a Green Monster Salad or a Kale Caesar and maybe a side dish of roasted broccolini! Simple perfection at it’s finest!

Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce from (@whatsgabycookin)

Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 -8 people


  • 1-1/2 pound medium shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28 ounce jar marinara Sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan plus more as needed
  • Fresh Basil for garnish


  • Cook the shells according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Pour in the marinara sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in cream. Add the parmesan to taste, and season to taste. If the sauce is still quite thick, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to thin to out. Stir in the cooked shells and garnish with basil and serve immediately.


  1. This recipe is so simple yet delicious. I entertain quite a bit and I would not hesitate serving this to guests. Throwing in fresh basil and parsley in the end elevates it to a next level and guests would never know the marinara is from a bottle. ( I used Trader Joe’s organic marinara.). I accompanied the pasta with roasted veggies and a green salad and fresh bread. And wine. Always ! I used orichiette as it was what I had on hand. This would also be a nice make ahead meal when you need to bring dinner to someone home bound. It reheats nicely.

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