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Dish with Diane: Chef Lidia Bastianich's Shells with Chicken Sauce Recipe

Jane Bruce

Dish with Diane — a series all about getting healthy and delicious foods right from world-class chefs themselves, brings you this delicious pasta recipe. We all love pasta but try not to eat too much of it; healthy eating is always a question of balance. In this recipe, the pasta is dressed with proteins. Eating delicious pasta while simultaneously increasing the proportion of healthy protein is the way to go. Feel comfortable about substituting a different grain for the pasta like buckwheat, whole wheat, barley, and others.

Click here for more Dish with Diane: Chef Inspired Healthy with Lidia Bastianich. Or click here to watch the video.


  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Pound medium zucchini (about 3 zucchini), cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-by-½-inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Pound medium shell pasta, or 1 pound of fresh fettucine
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes in all. Remove to a plate, add the chicken to the Dutch oven, and sear all over, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to the plate with the zucchini.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, along with the garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the tomatoes and bay leaves, slosh the can out with 1 cup pasta water, and add that as well. Season with the salt and the crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, while you cook the shells.

After the sauce has simmered 5 minutes, put the chicken and zucchini back in the pot. Drain the shells while still al dente, or remove with a spider, and add directly to the simmering sauce. Stir in the scallions, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving458
Total Fat15g23%
Vitamin A104µg12%
Vitamin B120.5µg7.8%
Vitamin B60.9mg47.4%
Vitamin C36mg59%
Vitamin E3mg13%
Vitamin K58µg73%
Folate (food)74µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)272µg68%
Folic acid116µgN/A
Niacin (B3)11mg55%
Riboflavin (B2)0.6mg35.3%
Thiamin (B1)0.7mg46.8%