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Under 30 Minutes

Shells with Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella

Bowls of Caprese-style chicken pasta -- with tomatoes, cheese, and herbs -- answer the question of what to have for dinner tonight. You need only 30 minutes, start to finish.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Shells with Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2007


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for grates
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill, and cut into thin strips, halving if long.

  2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Add chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, Parmesan, and butter. Toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a sauce that coats shells (you may not need all the water). Serve with more Parmesan.

Cook's Note

MAKE-AHEAD IDEA If you’d like, grill the chicken up to two days beforehand. Then let it cool, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate. Bring chicken to room temperature before adding to pasta.

Reviews (20)

  • 1275 2 Mar, 2013

    Followed the other reviewers idea to freeze the cheese cubes and it worked fine. Instead of grilling chicken, I just used about 2 cups of cooked chicken and subbed the tomatoes for 1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes. Excellent meal, quick and easy without being too boring. I might just use shredded cheese next time as melted globs of cheese don't look that appiteizing in this dish. Added some dried basil as well for flavor.

  • BORN2STANDOUT 20 May, 2012


  • AndreaDwyer 29 Jun, 2011

    we love, love, love this recipe! I have been making it ever since they published it, and I adore it! I make a few changes: double the fresh mozz. and parmesan, and substitute fresh basil for the parsley (add extra!). Definitely a winner and the kids love it too...

  • bimmergirl 17 Sep, 2010

    I like to read the modifications others make because it often improves the recipe or at least adjusts it to the cooks taste. It can turn an OK recipe into a forever favorite! Having said that, I found a similar recipe on this site that did not have chicken in it so it was a nice light vegetarian dish. It called for olive oil instead of butter. I tweaked this recipe by adding sundried tomatoes, feta and fresh herbs. It was awesome. Tweaking is half the fun of cooking!

  • carabau 15 Sep, 2010

    Loving a recipe equals not changing the recipe. If you have to make too many changes, the recipe is not that great.

  • tanyawilliams 13 Sep, 2010

    Love this recipe, it's a family favorite! I have made it a dozen times and have tweaked it to perfection. I use fresh basil instead of parsley, a store bought rotisserie chicken to save time. I add half the mozzarella so that is melts into the shells, and then the the rest about 30 minutes later to have some whole pieces.I add the tomatoes last to prevent them from cooking and becoming mushy, and I add twice the amount of grated parmesan to help bind everything and add a little more saltyness to

  • dcrlawrence 17 May, 2010

    Awful. Followed the recipe exactly as written. The mozzarella clumped and the whole dish was bland. Would not recommend.

  • Ceight85 17 Apr, 2010

    Had this tonight. Pretty good. Not a favorite but descent for needing something new to try! I'm not a big fan of grape tomatoes so I added diced tomatoes (italian style) and i just had shredded mozz cheese. I took the advise of adding olive oil instead of butter as well.

  • gordoria 14 Oct, 2009

    This was super easy and fast, but I'm not too crazy about luke warm meals. I go either hot or chilled. If you warm this too much the mozz melts. I'd like this best served chilled, I think- perhaps as a side. Also better with fresh basil and oregano in addition to the parsley. Olive oil instead of butter and I even threw a little lemon in.

  • MBS4174 30 Dec, 2008

    this was pretty tasty. i think you could probably add different vegetables and more cheese is not a bad idea. i would make it again since it was fairly easy.

  • Klasarsky 16 Oct, 2008

    I made this last night except I added more parmesan and it was a hit. If you season the chicken while grilling (marinate, etc) that helps prevent the blandess. It does not say to keep the heat under the pot. It just says drain the pasta and return to pot with remaining ingredients and toss. You can put a little heat (very low) under it though (to serve it warmer) and the mozzarella will not clump. I careful adding the water. You do not need much

  • erkenbka 22 Aug, 2008

    Pretty good - we used a grilled rotisserie chicken to add more flavor. We weren't a fan of the parsley, though, and ended up swapping basil for it. Didn't add back in the water, but tossed in some olive oil. Basic, but filling!

  • flits21 14 Aug, 2008

    oops i meant add the water slowly

  • flits21 14 Aug, 2008

    Careful not to add the water slowly. I used the entire cup and it was too watery. Per other reviews i added mozz. last (and froz cubes first) and it did not clump. I used basil rather than parsley. I thought it was a bit bland and won't make again. But good for a quick dinner. Used whole wheat pasta shells and just one pound chicken.

  • smee2 6 Aug, 2008

    I have made this several times and love it. It will be fine if you add the mozzarella last, a little bit at a time.

  • Laureality 6 Aug, 2008

    I made this last night, following the suggestion of freezing the mozzarella cubes - it worked great, no clumping at all. I also substituted fresh cilantro for parsley - my boyfriend thought it was kind of weird but still ate 3 helpings so it must not have been too bad!

  • 11721maryg 29 Jun, 2008

    why not just toss it without the mozzarella. Let it get room temp. add mozzarella and chill and serve as a cold pasta salad?

  • pleiades 25 Jun, 2008

    I wish I had read the comments before making this recipe! My mozzarella also turned into a GIANT clump and as I tried to spread it out, the tomatoes cooked...yuck!

  • debadding 20 May, 2008

    I saw a similar recipe on America's Test Kitchen. They cubed the mozzarella and froze it for about 15 minutes before adding it to the pasta to keep the cubes separate.

  • lolie 27 Apr, 2008

    Does anyone have advice about making the mozarella remain separate? My mozarella melted together in a giant clump!

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