Pasta Shells with Chicken and Brussels Sprouts


Mild chicken tames the strength of the sprouts while garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan unite the main ingredients and complement them both.

Pasta Shells with Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
Photo: © Leela Cyd
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 servings

If you've always thought that you dislike brussels sprouts, you've probably never tried them in a combination like this. Frozen brussels sprouts are surprisingly good in this recipe, too, though not as fine as fresh.


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds total)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3/4 pound fresh brussels sprouts (or 1 [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 a Chardonnay-based Chablis from France matches up nicely with the acidity of the lemon juice in the sauce.

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