Brussel Sprouts & Shells


  • olive oil
  • ¼ red onion (less than ½ cup), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • squeezes of lemon juice, plus some zest for the end
  • 6-8 oz. mini whole wheat pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese, shredded
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes



  1. In a large skillet, cook the onions in just a bit of the olive oil with a few pinches of salt. Once they’re soft (3-4 minutes), add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat and remove the onions from the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the brussels sprout halves in a bit of balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Wipe out the pan you just used for the onions and heat more olive oil and the butter. When the pan is screaming hot add the brussels sprouts, cut side down. Without moving them, let them cook for about 3-4 minutes, until they develop a nice char (check and reduce heat & time if they’re burning).
  4. Flip them over and add a good squeeze of lemon to deglaze the pan. Toss them around a bit. Reduce heat to low, and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and let them steam until tender (approx. 4-5 minutes).
  5. Boil shells in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
  6. Toss together the shells, onions, brussels sprouts, more lemon juice, and most of the pecorino. Taste and adjust seasonings. Finish with remaining cheese, lemon zest and red pepper flakes.

Serves 2

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