Creamy Garlic Shells

Creamy Garlic Shells

You know those tasty little packages of dry pasta you can find in the rice and pasta aisle? You know the ones. They come in a variety of flavors.

I used to buy these a lot when I was in college and living in the dorm. I lived in the most horrid dorm my freshman year of college. It was one of the oldest ones on campus and of course I was assigned to live there. While I had the meal plan, there was only so much cafeteria food I could take so I tried to make my own food whenever I could. I think I lived on veggie burgers, cereal, canned vegetables, and those darn pasta packets. I hated cooking in the dorm kitchen. It always seemed dirty and I didn’t like have to work around other random people. I loved the pasta packets because I could make them in my room.

Although those little packages were quite tasty, have you ever looked at the ingredients? What the heck is all that crap?! Really, it is quite easy to replicate these at home using real ingredients! One of my favorite packets were the creamy garlic shells so I wanted to try to make them from scratch. The best thing about this recipe is that there is no heavy cream! I will tell you that this is really garlicky so don’t make it for a first date.

I made this as a side dish with some baked chicken and veggies, but you could also eat it as a main dish if you wanted. Just toss in some chicken, shrimp, and/or some veggies and you have yourself a great dinner!

Creamy Garlic Shells

Creamy Garlic Shells


  • 8 oz. (1/2 lb.) mini shells pasta
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes


  1. In a large pot, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Remove the pot from the heat. Drain and set aside.
  2. Put the empty pot back on the burner over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and butter and cook until the butter is melted. Stir in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute until the flour is cooked and combined with the butter and oil. Pour in the milk and broth and whisk until smooth. Stir in the some salt and pepper and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and bubbling.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and the parsley flakes. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Pour the cooked pasta into the pot and mix in with the sauce. Serve.

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

All images and text ©

Creamy Garlic Shells



  1. Ummm easy, i like that and brinnnggg on the garlic!

  2. Mmmm, anything with garlic and creaminess :D


  3. I used to love those little packages too, but everything tastes better without all those additives. So true! This looks so GOOD.

  4. These sound amazing! I’m not sure what I love more – creamy or garlic!

  5. Awww, these are so cute! I love this kind of dish! I haven’t had pasta in a while! I need to make this!! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Garlic and pasta is a favorite around here! This sounds way better than packet pasta!

  7. I totally lived off Pastaroni in college!! This is pretty similar to my favorite flavor too, but it looks soooooo much better!!

  8. Comfort food at its finest. :) I love creamy garlic pasta in any form I can get it!

  9. Creamy garlic pasta… looks hearty and comforting. You could have called me “Ramen girl” when I first lived on my own… LOL!! You do what you have to do at the time… but now we are lucky to enjoy so much better and we can appreciate the quality of good food. :)

  10. haha I used to eat those packets in college too … that and frozen meals. Yuck. This sounds delicious – it looks so comforting!

  11. I make a similar sauce we love – no more packages for me! Pasta pictures make me so hungry, no matter what time of day it is!

  12. Oh wow…I’m drooling over here! Beautiful photos too!

  13. Oh boy… creamy garlic shells sounds aaaaaaamazing!!!

  14. See, I knew I shouldn’t have clicked on this recipe because now I’m staring at the photo and getting really hungry but it’s after midnight. Dang!

  15. This sounds like my kind of dinner.. yummy! I love garlic :)

  16. Those packets are good, but your version looks so much better; not to mention, healthier. Yum!

  17. Yay for skim milk! I love to take out those HEAVY ingredients!

  18. Pingback: Parmesan Baked Chicken - Eat. Drink. Love.

  19. Creamy, pasta and garlic in the same dish? Oh my! I want to be invited to your house for dinner!
    Thanks for sharing and thank you for the lovely comment left on my guest post (dulce de leche bars) left on Liz’s blog

  20. I love garlic. I wish it was socially acceptable to eat it like popcorn. I’d eat a whole pot of this stuff! Freaking gorgeous.

  21. This looks amazing! The only way it could be any better is if it was right in front of me :)

  22. We don’t do much dairy in our house because I have two with asthma, AND we are vegetarian to boot. So, I made this tonight with Earth Balance margarine (instead of butter), vegan chick broth, almond milk, and homemade Brazil Nut Parmesan, and it was delicious!!! My girls told me it tasted like Alfredo sauce, which is one of their most favorite things (and I don’t make very often because dairy doesn’t do them any favors). So, thanks for the inspiration!!

  23. Step 2 should say put the POT not PASTA back on the burner. I really screwed this up because of that.

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