I’ve been on a kick lately using less ingredients in my recipes. It’s been a challenge because I refuse to sacrifice a lick of flavor, but I am thrilled to say this dish is loaded with it. Here, it’s all about pasta shells in a creamy, scallion-filled marsala-sherry wine sauce kissed with a smoky flavor. Think of it as a more sophisticated mac & cheese, except it’s unlike any pasta you’ve had in terms of the deep and rich flavor. And since my world-famous Sausage & Shells did me well, Smoky Shells have arrived.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, halved
- 2 bunches scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces (optional, with some reserved for garnish)
- 1 cup Marsala wine (sweet, if possible but any will do)
- 1/2 cup sherry wine
- 2 cups chicken, onion, or garlic broth (I used 2 teaspoons Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 2 cups water)
- 1 pound medium shells
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 (5.2-ounce) package Boursin (any flavor) or garlic herb cheese
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, plus more for topping
- Pour the oil in the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High Setting. After 3 minutes of heating, add the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes until lightly browned. If using, add the scallions and sauté them in the oil for another 2 minutes.
- Add the wines and deglaze the bottom of the pot, freeing it from any browned bits from the sautéing of the garlic.
- Once the wine’s bubbling, add the broth to the pot and stir well. Add the pasta but do not stir. Just smooth it out with a spoon to make sure it’s mostly covered (it’s okay if some of it sticks out). Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel and then hit Pressure Cook or Manual on High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Add the cream, liquid smoke, and Boursin or herb cheese and smoked paprika. Stir until fully combined. Let rest for 3-5 minutes to thicken. Top with additional sliced scallions and smoked paprika, if desired.
The combination of the Marsala and Sherry wines are what makes this pasta so incredibly special. However, if you’re not into cooking with wine, just nix it and sub in an additional 1 ½ cups broth (so 3 ½ cups of broth total). In Step 2, add 1 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot before adding the rest in Step 3.