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Pasta Shells with Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

If you've always thought that you dislike Brussels sprouts, you've probably never tried them in a combination like this. Mild chicken tames the strength of the sprouts while garlic, lemon juice, red-pepper flakes, and Parmesan unite the two main ingredients and complement them both. Frozen Brussels sprouts are surprisingly good in this recipe, too, though not as fine as fresh.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (or one 10-ounce package frozen), cut into quarters from top to stem end
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound medium pasta shells


  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon each of the oil and the butter over moderate heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cook the breasts until browned and just done, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut into small pieces.
  2. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately low heat. Add the red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, Brussels sprouts, broth, and red-pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook,covered, until the Brussels sprouts are just done, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, lemon juice, parsley, Parmesan, and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce.

Suggested Pairing

A crisp white wine such as aCchardonnay-based Chablis from France matches up nicely with the acidity of the lemon juice in the sauce.

Photo © Leela Cyd Published July 2013

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