Shells with Roasted Chicken, Escarole, and Roasted Garlic

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

A great supper dish on a cold night. The combination of pasta with chicken, greens, and garlic is wonderfully hearty. Its the ideal dish to make when you have a piece or two of leftover roast chicken.


  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) roasted chicken, fat and skin removed
  • 1 head escarole, trimmed and torn into large pieces (about pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound shells, orecchiete, penne, or other tubular pasta
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, and cut into ½-inch strips, or 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup (packed) basil leaves, torn into pieces


    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heat the oven to 375°F.
    2. Peel the garlic, leaving a thin layer of skin on each clove. Place in a pie plate or other shallow baking dish and drizzle lightly with teaspoons olive oil. Roast the garlic until soft when pierced with a small knife but not yet browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    3. Peel the skins from the garlic and cut each clove in half. Place in a heatproof bowl. Cut the chicken into wide strips and add to the garlic. Cover with foil and place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
    4. Rinse the escarole and place it with just the water clinging to its leaves in a large shallow saucepan or deep sauté pan. Cook, covered, over low heat until the leaves are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, pressing on the greens with the back of a spoon to extract moisture and cook off excess liquid. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    5. Add salt to the boiling water and cook the shells until al dente. Ladle out cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta.
    6. Quickly reheat the escarole, about 30 seconds. Return the pasta to the cooking pot over low heat. Add the reserved pasta cooking liquid, escarole, chicken and garlic mixture, tomatoes, and basil, tossing until combined and heated through. Correct seasonings and serve at once.