Garlic Buttered Pasta Shells

This is a versatile side dish to serve with simple entrees like grilled steak, roast chicken and broiled fish. It builds on the concept of a classic Aglio e Olio (garlic and oil) pasta by including a bit of sautéed onion, chopped fresh parsley and a splash of balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavors. You can use just about any variety of pasta you like. We’re partial to conchigliette, but other cuts with ridges (e.g. penne, rigatoni) will work just as well.

Garlic Buttered Pasta Shells

Garlic-Buttered Pasta Shells

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This is an easy and versatile pasta side dish that complements simple main dishes like roast chicken, pan-seared pork chops, grilled steak and broiled fish.


  • 8 ounces small pasta shells (conchigliette)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and butter and continue cooking, stirring constantly until barely golden, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  4. Stir in the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions. Combine with the garlic mixture, add the fresh parsley and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.